🎬 Amazon’s media bet - The Hustle
The Hustle

🎬 Amazon’s media bet

Plus: Google just hold-my-beer’d ChatGPT, an oddly specific tweet, $555k flying motorbikes, tzatziki news, movie prices, and more.

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It’s Tuesday, and there’s a lot of cool stuff happening. However, our thoughts are also with all those impacted by the horrible earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

In today’s email:

  • Concrete: Some rock solid news.
  • Chart: Amazon’s media bet.
  • Netflix: Will a crackdown hurt its brand?
  • Around the web: An online photo exhibit, so many menus, the “red carpet technique,” and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about Google and Microsoft’s exciting next couple of AI-focused days, some big changes to movie theater prices, a Mediterranean food IPO, and more.

The big idea

Rock-solid news in the concrete industry

In a climate tech first, companies captured CO2 from the atmosphere and built concrete with it.
Jacob Cohen

You may not realize it since the material is heavy, and sits still, but the production of concrete accounts for ~3x the amount of carbon emissions as aviation.

That figure is especially concerning with the world’s building stock on track to double by 2060.

Fortunately, in a climate tech first, companies say they’ve not only removed CO2 from the atmosphere, but trapped it in concrete, and used that concrete to construct new things.

What happened?

As part of a small-scale demonstration, Heirloom — a startup claiming to run America’s only operational Direct Air Capture facility — began the process by capturing CO2 at their headquarters in Brisbane, California.

  • The company, which has raised $54.3m, is backed by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and counts Microsoft, Stripe, and Shopify as customers.

Next, CarbonCure Technologies, which has produced CO2-captured concrete for Amazon’s second headquarters in Virginia, injected the captured CO2 into wastewater. CarbonCure has raised $12.4m and is also backed by Gates.

Finally, Central Concrete Supply Co. used the processed wastewater to make new concrete, which was used for various construction projects around the Bay Area.

What happens now?

Scaling up is key. The experiment used just ~38 kilograms of captured CO2. According to the EPA’s calculator, that’s what a gas-powered car emits every ~94 miles.

It’ll also be important for these companies to analyze whether other parts of the process have a negative impact on its benefits.

In the meantime, momentum across climate policies, tax credits, and federal funding — including $3.5B toward carbon removal — is moving the space forward.


One of the more accurate calls we’ve seen recently is this tweet pointing out that Coldplay’s Chris Martin looked like “a toddler named Rydyr at a pre-school that costs $50,000 a year” at the Grammys the other night.


Feisty: Minutes after Google announced its conversational AI search engine yesterday, Microsoft confirmed a press event for today, likely to highlight its ChatGPT version of Bing. Google has a press event planned for tomorrow.

Dang flabbit. Movie theater chain AMC is rolling out airplane-like seat pricing as part of a program called Sightline. Unlike planes, middle seats will cost more.

That’s a lot of tzatziki. Mediterranean restaurant chain Cava, founded in 2006, filed for an IPO. In 2021, the company was valued at $1.71B.

Getty this: Getty Images filed a lawsuit accusing Stability AI of using 12m+ copyrighted photos to train its open-source AI art generator Stable Diffusion.

Pedal to the metal: A small team at EV maker Rivian is reportedly working on an electric bike. The company also has e-bike patents and trademarks.

Speaking of… The Japanese manufacturer of $555k flying motorbikes, which went public via a SPAC merger that valued it at $600m, saw its stock drop 59% on its first trading day.

The infinite, AI-generated “Seinfeld” spoof called “Nothing, Forever” — yes, that exists — was banned on Twitch for two weeks after an older AI model it was using struggled to moderate content up to standard.

Holy Shift. ShiftMed, a Virginia-based workforce marketplace for nurses and aides, secured $200m in funding. The company says 350k people use its app and revenue grew 8x in the last two years.

Five-year plan: Do you have one? We’re sensing the answer’s no… or it’s a bit outdated. Use this template to keep it real with yourself today.


Business isn’t a game — but maybe it should be. Gamification is a powerful tool that can be applied to everything from training employees and motivating sales teams to attracting new customers. Get playing.

Singdhi Sokpo

Amazon says its media moves are working

Content is driving Prime sign-ups, Amazon says. What comes next?
Jacob Cohen

Amazon wants you to know it’s just as serious about movies as it is about two-day shipping.

In 2020, the company spent $11B on original and licensed video and music content. In 2021, that was up to $13B. Last year, spend increased again to $16.6B.

On Amazon’s Q4 earnings call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said these investments are driving new Prime memberships, and CEO Andy Jassy emphasized that the price for some standalone streamers “is more than what  Prime [costs a consumer] today.”

Food for thought

As Amazon invests more in media, bringing a consumer media app under its wing could pour lighter fluid onto an already hot TV-to-toilet-paper flywheel. Take Snapchat, for instance:

  • It reaches 75% of 13- to 34-year-olds — AKA trendy impulse buyers — in countries representing 50%+ of digital ad spend.
  • Snapchat’s current CFO was VP of finance for Amazon’s global Digital Video business.
  • Snapchat’s AR features have powered millions of interactive content and shopping experiences for brands like Disney and Walmart.

Sounds pretty Amazonian to us. Oh wait, it is.

Free Resource

18 of the best ads ever

This list is full of legendary pulls.

You could’ve called Nike, Coke, and Apple off the top, but maybe not the rest. Here are 18 excellent ads by brands that captured something timeless.

Ads that shall slap for eternity:

  • A lineup of all-time greats
  • Breakdowns and takeaways
  • An overview of the ad industry

The gems do indeed last forever.

Classic ads →
Netflix and… Life

Can Netflix be a lifestyle brand?

The company is partnering with the likes of Bumble, while also making it harder for people to watch.
Samir Javer

2022 wasn’t exactly a chill year for Netflix.

With its stock price down and subscriber losses piling up, the streamer ventured into new territories — doubling down on games, selling merch, and even recently launching a partnership with dating app Bumble.

It begs the question: Can it be an appealing lifestyle brand and enforce an unpopular password crackdown simultaneously?

Media as culture

Content consumption is so ingrained in our culture now, it’s no wonder Netflix is trying to capitalize on this momentum.

The company described its newest strategy as a “guidance evolution,” and its goal is to prove to investors it can evolve with new revenue streams over time rather than just add new subscribers.

But the timing could be off

Netflix is about to become far less cuddly as it begins its long-discussed password crackdown in the US.

Reviews from Latin America, where new regulations have rolled out, have been negative:

  • Users complained about needing to log in to a home IP address every month and receive codes for access when they’re away from their primary location.

Netflix hasn’t released specifics on US rules yet. But it sure seems like it will be more complicated for, say, someone to start sharing their account with people they meet on Bumble.


🔥 On this day: In 1497, followers of priest Girolamo Savonarola held the “bonfire of the vanities,” in Florence, Italy, torching thousands of artworks, cosmetics, and books.

📸 Art: View “Capturing the Moment,” an online exhibit of photos submitted by Smithsonian community members.

🧠 How to: Use the “red carpet technique” to manage your schedule and get things done.

📚 That’s interesting: The New York Public Library boasts a collection of 40k+ menus, most dating back to 1890-1910, thanks to one archivist who worked free of charge.

🐦 Aww: And now, more brushing, please.


Great show, BTW. (Link.)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Samir Javer, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Rock on” Dent.

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