🎥 The creation of a $150B streaming giant


May 18, 2021

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The Hustle

This may be the only chance we get to write this sentence: On Monday, the work collaboration software firm monday.com filed to go public.

The big idea
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WarnerMedia and Discovery combine to create a $150B streaming giant

Here’s a rundown of popular streaming services:

  • Disney+ is home to Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and more
  • Netflix — which is spending $17B on content this year — is home to originals like Tiger King and F1’s Drive to Survive
  • Peacock has The Office and probably nothing else worth watching

Now, we’ll have to familiarize ourselves with a new offering:

AT&T will spin off its content unit WarnerMedia…

…and combine it with Discovery to create a media business that could be worth as much as $150B, per CNBC.

If the deal is approved by regulators, this new content giant would be home to CNN, HBO, TBS, Warner Bros., Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV, Animal Planet, and — probably the most important — Food Network.

A huge pivot for AT&T

Just 3 years ago, the telecom giant closed an $85B deal for all of Time Warner’s media assets. Clearly, its attempt to combine content and distribution didn’t strike gold.

AT&T is slated to receive $43B as part of its deal with Discovery, and its shareholders will own 71% of the new business (Discovery owns the balance).

WarnerMediaDiscovery (not the company’s official name) will be run by Discovery’s CEO David Zaslav. According to CNBC, the future of WarnerMedia’s head Jason Kilar — who founded streaming pioneer Hulu — is “uncertain.”

WarnerMediaDiscovery would have 79m paying subscribers…

… across the HBO Max (64m) and Discovery (15m) services. While the figure falls short of Netflix (200m+) and Disney+ (100m+), the combined entity would be in a stronger position to compete (400m subs is the goal).

This consolidation also puts pressure on ViacomCBS and NBCUniversal to scale up.

When it comes to streaming, though, we just have one question: When is the next season of HBO’s Succession?

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SNIPPETS

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  • They say if you want something done, you gotta DIY. That’s why Hans Dow of Anchorage, Alaska, built a sawmill to combat rising lumber costs.
  • Michael Burry — the investor who made billions shorting the US subprime mortgages (as popularized in the film The Big Short) — has a new target: Tesla, which he has put a $530m bet against.
  • Starbucks, Target, and CVS are among retailers easing mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers.
  • Indonesian startups Gojek (ride hailing, payments) and Tokopedia (e-commerce) will merge and prepare for an IPO valued at $35-40B.
The Labor Market
McDonald's fry container

Corporations are running out of talent — and reskilling programs are stepping in

You know labor markets are tight when companies start bumping minimum wages.

And there’s been a string of announcements in recent weeks:

  • McDonald’s wants to add 10k workers over the next 3 months and is boosting corporate-owned wages by 10%
  • Chipotle wants to add 20k workers and is increasing average hourly wages to $15 by June
  • Amazon needs 75k new logistics employees and is offering an average starting wage of $17 (and up to $1k signing bonus)

Separately, Uber reports that the median hourly wage for its drivers in several major cities has topped $30.

The improved offers are only for entry-level roles, though

Per The Wall Street Journal, retailers across America are facing shortages of digital skills (e.g., data analysis, engineers).

Finding talent is hard enough, so many companies are looking to reskill internally.

The move makes economic sense: McKinsey, a consultancy, estimates that replacing an employee costs 20%-30% of the annual salary, while retraining an existing employee costs <10% of their annual pay.

Reskilling can take many forms:

  • Walmart partnered with Guild Education to offer employees the chance to earn a high school or college degree for $1 a day
  • Levi’s created a boot camp that teaches stats, coding, and machine-learning skills (applicants are chosen in a 3-month interview process)
  • Verizon plans to retrain 100k retail employees with technical know-how for its 5G rollout

With 342k more retail job openings in March (vs. last year) — the 2nd-highest figure over the past decade — expect more pay bumps and reskilling news to come.

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The Hustle Update
Cheetos

A crazy update on the ‘inventor’ of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Back in 2017, we profiled Richard Montañez, a former janitor at Frito-Lay who claimed to have invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

We weren’t the first, nor only, outlet to cover his story.

Over nearly a decade, Montañez’s rags-to-riches tale has been widely published by NPR, The Washington Post, and many other papers. It’s even being made into a Hollywood biopic directed by Eva Longoria.

But now, new information has come to light

An investigation by The Los Angeles Times claims that Montañez may have fabricated his involvement with the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

There are a lot of contradicting details here. For years, Frito-Lay appeared to endorse Montañez’s claims. The former CEOs of both PepsiCo and Frito-Lay praised his autobiography, and the company recently verified his contributions to a Planet Money reporter.

Now, the company alleges that Montañez was “not involved in any capacity” in the invention of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and that the snack’s development was a group effort led by MBAs and corporate marketers.

Elements of Montañez’s story appear to be true. He did in fact rise up the ranks from factory worker to executive at Frito-Lay. He also contributed to the success of many spicy snacks — just not Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, says the company.

Montañez is denying this claim

“There’s always someone in the room who’s going to try to steal your destiny,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram on Sunday. “They may even say you never existed.”

We’ll continue to update the story as more information comes in.

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TRENDS

$10T problems and how to solve them…

Let’s talk about construction technology – a massive industry valued at $10T.

An industry that still uses email, Excel, and not much else to manage enormous projects.

That means glaring inefficiencies and huge opportunities for innovators.

So, we put together a report outlining the biggest opportunities within construction tech along with specific recommendations on how to execute.

These are ideas you can get started on this weekend.

To access the full report, try 7 days of Trends for just $1.

See the report →
Meme of the day
streaming services meme

The numbers may vary, but this was probably the best streaming-related meme of 2020 (Source: Reddit)

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