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📰 The NYT’s new strategy, explained
June 15, 2022
Read to the end for a really hard game.
Netflix announced a new reality show based on its hit series “Squid Game.” While the stakes aren’t actual life or death, they are the highest ever for a reality show — players have the chance to win ~$4.5m.
In today’s email:
The NYT: A strategy breakdown.
Interview: Our chat with Ray Dalio.
“Bear” vs. “bull”: Why we describe the market using animals.
Around the web: Overcoming fear of the unknown, an opportunity for nonprofits, a tricky game, and more cool internet finds.
🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Zack, Mark, and Rob discuss The New York Times’ shift from publisher to product company, and whether the move will pay off.
The big idea
The NYT’s next era isn’t about news
Back in the day, the typical New York Times subscriber might’ve woken to the sound of a newspaper hitting their front porch.
These days, they’re more likely to wake up to a push notification.
As the Times’ subscriber base has shifted to digital consumption, the company’s strategy has adapted as well, per Axios.
The new strategy…
… is centered around getting existing subscribers to use more of its products, including:
Cooking, which has a library of 20k+ recipes, guides, and lessons
Games, which has its flagship crossword puzzle, along with Spelling Bee, Tiles, and newly acquired Wordle
Reviews, which offers access to thousands of Wirecutter product recommendations and buying guides
Sports, which includes both national and local coverage from The Athletic
These complementary products are one reason NYT’s digital revenue has grown from $400m to $1.1B since 2016.
According to NYT’s chief product officer Alex Hardiman, “Multiproduct subscribers pay the most and retain best.” It’s why the NYT isn’t the only subscription product embracing bundling.
Other recent bundlers are:
Apple One, which includes music, cloud storage, games, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Fitness
The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+
A key to bundling is offering standalone options for each product, so the bundle price looks like a bargain. Which begs the question…
… is NYT’s bundle a good deal?
The collective price of NYT’s individual subscriptions comes out to $251/yr. The first year of NYT’s All Access subscription costs ~$163, a ~35% discount. Importantly, that discount drops in subsequent years.
Whether the bundle is a good deal depends on how much a subscriber uses each product.
Having recently passed 10m subs, NYT is shooting for 15m by 2027. If the bundling play works, news might become just a small part of the company’s business.
K-stop: BTS, the global K-pop phenomenon, said they will be going on hiatus to pursue solo projects. The group has reportedly brought in ~$3.6B to the South Korean economy. Before you shed any tears, the group did say they plan to get back together at some point.
Pinterest+: Pinterest partnered with Tastemade, a food- and travel-focused video network, in a multimillion-dollar, multiyear deal that will result in 50 new TV shows, live videos, and events on Pinterest.
Layoffs continue: After announcing a hiring freeze and rescinding job offers for hundreds of employees, Coinbase laid off 1.1k employees, ~18% of its workforce.
Meta released a new anti-harassment tool called “Voice Mode” in its VR social platform, Horizon Worlds, that allows users to garble the voice of any non-friend on the platform.
DoorDash served up a slew of new features, including reviews, a “top-rated” tag for popular meals, and top-10 lists.
Following McDonald’s exit from Russia, stores have rebranded as Vkusno & Tochka. To avoid violating trademarks, they’ve apparently scribbled out the famous arches on sauce packets. #ecommerce-retail
Norwegian startup Glint Solar’s SaaS platform uses satellite imagery, data sets, and AI to help developers find potential sites for solar projects. #clean-energy
TikTok parent company ByteDance is hiring 40+ people on the West Coast to expand further into VR. It acquired headset company Pico in 2021. #emerging-tech
Mozilla added a new feature to its Firefox browser that protects users from online tracking by restricting websites from reading cookies created by other websites. #privacy
Elon Musk will hold a virtual town hall on Thursday to take questions from Twitter employees. This will be the first time he’s addressed staff since his play to maybe (or maybe not?) buy the company. #big-tech
Our chat with Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio is the founder and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world. He’s one of the 100 richest people on Earth. He’s also a bestselling author.
Zack recently sat down with Dalio to talk about his latest book, The Changing World Order, which uses a historical lens to examine why empires rise and fall — and why the US may be showing some signs of decline.
They covered a range of topics, including:
The three biggest issues America is facing right now
What’s driving the debt crisis
The growing wealth gap (and what we should do about it)
Thoughts on inflation and an impending recession
Investing during times of volatility
Whether crypto can become a reserve currency
Dalio’s worst (and best) failure as an investor
Billionaire personality tests
Jazz musicians and chicken nuggets
Below is a link to a transcript of our interview with Dalio, accompanied by informative visuals. If you’d prefer to hear the podcast, you can listen to it here.
Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri tweeted late April that the new ranking algorithm favors original content. A fair shake for the creator economy…
… but how does it affect marketers who rely on reposts or user-generated content to cushion their cadence? How is originality even determined? Do you now have the license to ignore reposting your company’s latest campaigns?
You’ve probably heard the term “bear market” a lot lately — but what does it mean?
How does it differ from a bull market?
And why are we involving animals in all this?
Bear market: Prices are dropping.
Bull market: Prices are rising.
How much? Usually, an increase or decrease of 20% or more from a recent high or low. So, right now, we’re in a bear market because the S&P 500 index closed at 3,749.91, down ~22% from its previous high of 4,818.62 in January, perCNBC.
While these terms are commonly used to refer to markets — the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average — they can also refer to individual stocks or other assets.
Why the animals?
There are multiple theories for the terms’ origins. One is that it’s how they kill: bulls gore enemies by thrusting upward with their horns, while bears swipe down with their claws.
But a popular theory dates back to a proverb about not selling a bear’s skin before you’ve caught the bear.
In the 18th century, when someone sold something they didn’t yet own, hoping they could buy it later at a lower price, people would say they were a “bearskin jobber” who’d “sold the bearskin.”
That term was further popularized after the South Sea Bubble, a financial crash in 1720 involving the South Sea Company, a trading company that turned out to be pretty worthless despite its once-soaring stocks.
And if that’s where the “bear” came from, another theory is that “bull” came about because people used to — ugh — make bulls and bears fight one another for entertainment.
AROUND THE WEB
🇨🇦 On this day: In 1846, the US-Canadian border was established with the signing of the Oregon Treaty.
😨 How to: The unknown is, uh, kinda scary. Here are some tips for overcoming that fear and pressing forward.
💰 Opportunity: Sony’s Create Action is a community-based nonprofit grant program to support youth in underserved communities. Organizations with budgets under $500k in the US and Canada are eligible. Get more info here.
🏃🏿 Cure boredom: Run as fast as you can using only the letters Q, W, O, and P. Be warned, this game is actually pretty hard.
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