🎥 Streaming stumbles

July 22, 2021
The Hustle

For anyone that relied on Venmo as your main social network, we have bad news: users can no longer see payments between people they don’t know.

Today’s rundown:

  • Netflix slowdown: Are Americans tired of streaming?
  • Google Maps for your mind: Startup raises $30m to map our brains.
  • Shoppertainment: A trend combining shopping and…you can prob guess the other word.
  • Around the web: Awesome, random stuff for your enjoyment.

Let’s go!

The big idea

Netflix is losing subs in the US. This could be bad news for streaming.

The popular saying goes, “Netflix and chill” (we choose not to explain what this means).

We may have to update it to “Netflix and be slightly concerned” after the company’s latest quarterly earnings report.

Netflix added 4m subscribers…

… in Q1 2021, bringing its total to 209m, per The Hollywood Reporter.

However, all of the net new users came from outside of North America (US and Canada subscriber count declined by 400k).

This is concerning because the average revenue per user (ARPU) — a key metric — is much higher in North America ($14.54) than in the faster-growing Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions (<$10).

Pandemic to blame?

Netflix’s CFO says COVID created “choppiness in the business trends.” In Q1 of 2020, Netflix added a whopping ~16m subs as shelter-in-place orders swept the world.

With all those chillers pulled forward (AKA customers who may have otherwise waited to subscribe) a future slowdown in growth was anticipated, according to Netflix.

The dip isn’t dissuading the company: Netflix spent $8B in the 1st half of 2021 and confirmed rumors that it will launch a gaming service (at no extra cost), per CNBC.

A slowdown could be bad elsewhere

The Information previously reported that Disney+ has seen essentially 0 subscriber growth in North America this year. The lull is likely due to a $1 price increase in March (to $7.99/month).

Disney+ still has ~110m subs, though. Other streamers — HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock, Apple TV+, Discovery+, and the soon-to-come CNN+ — look expendable if people are getting tired of too much streaming.

Maybe the new phrase is, “Netflix and… Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video, but def not Peacock.”

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SNIPPETS

Popular fashion brands Madewell and ThredUp are partnering on Madewell Forever, an online resale shop for used jeans. #ecommerce-retail

Release the hounds: When it comes to studying how wind turbines impact wildlife, rescue dogs are the best at finding dead bats and birds. #clean-energy

Wow: This 6-ton, 40-foot steel bridge in Amsterdam is the 1st 3D-printed bridge in the world. #emerging-tech

How does TikTok know you so well? A Wall Street Journal investigation found it’s all about how you linger. #privacy

Minecraft: Crypto miner Core Scientific announced plans to go public at a valuation of $4.3B. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Goodbye Google, hello Here: Lyft is trading Google Maps for Here, which it says will offer better location searches and more reliable ETAs. #big-tech

Welcome to the Clubhouse: Clubhouse is out of beta, meaning you no longer need an invite to join. #big-tech

Now on MFM: Upcoming trends, old-school businesses raking in cash, and companies that may be scams. #mfm

Brain Tech
brain map

Australian startup raises $30m to map our brains

What if you could see your brain like it was a neighborhood in Google Maps?

Australia-based startup Omniscient Neurotechnology just raised $30m in Series B — bringing its value to $295m — to do just that, per Forbes.

So, brains are extremely complex

Omniscient co-founder and neurosurgeon Michael Sughrue describes the brain as gray matter — the tissue where brain cells live — and white matter, which consists of billions and billions of connections.

These connections cross back and forth and it all gets pretty complicated.

Omniscient’s tech uses AI machine learning and MRI scans to map the brain

This helps doctors see things like misfiring neurons to treat conditions with more accuracy. The Miami Neuroscience Institute will soon start using Omniscient’s tech for patients who may need brain surgery.

“It gives us the ability to look into someone’s brain, figure out what’s firing incorrectly and edit it,” Sughrue told Forbes.

In the future, there will be app stores for brain apps…

… and an operating system for brain data, predicts co-founder Stephen Scheeler. He says Omniscient aspires to be the “Google or app store of brain data.”

But for now, Omniscient will use the funds to expand its science, engineering, and sales teams; speed up R&D; and expand market access to its products.

Relevant quote: “If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.” – Emerson M. Pugh, physicist

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Trends
makeup displayed

Shoppertainment is a trend you should know about

Ever wonder how infomercials would evolve for mobile consumption habits? The answer may have arrived.

Shoppertainment is a term used to describe the convergence of livestreaming, entertainment, and commercials. The format is already popular in Asia and starting to gain traction in the West.

Shoppertainment is especially potent in short video form

A custom Nielsen study commissioned by TikTok found that 83% of users prefer ads in video form over gifs or text.

As brands catch on, you can expect to see more shoppertainment content on platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram going forward.

Web Smith of 2PM cites Kylie Cosmetics as a perfect example: In a recent livestream, super influencer Kylie Jenner displayed an assortment of cosmetic products while linking directly to checkout for easy purchasing.

COVID accelerated the trend

With movement restrictions limiting the ability to shop at brick-and-mortar stores, consumers turned to their phones.

The space is already growing beyond social media platforms:

  • ShopShops livestreams from stores in the US to customers in Asia
  • PopShop Live is an app modeled after Asia’s livestream shopping habits

Next time you notice your favorite livestreamer working a product into their videos, you’ll know what to call it.

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AROUND THE WEB

🏠Cure Boredom: Stop staring out your window and stare out someone else’s. Every click takes you to a new view.

🐶Wholesome: This golden retriever puppy isn’t a good gym spotter, but he’s a great cuddler!

🛸On this day: In 1959, Ed Wood’s sci-fi/horror cult classic “Plan 9 From Outer Space” hit theaters. It’s regarded as one of the worst films ever made.

🌥How to: Google gives you 15 GB of free cloud storage across Gmail, Drive, and Photos. Wired breaks down how to stay under the limit.

🍨Wait, what: People balked at Kraft and Van Leeuwen’s Mac & Cheese ice cream partnership. And yet, it’s been selling out everywhere. Mmm!

👃That’s cool: Afraid of needles? Scientists say future COVID vaccines could ditch the syringe for a more potent spray that goes up your nose.

Meme of the day
procrastination meme

Literally, every single night (Source: Twitter / @Jwoodham)

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