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🗳️ TikTok + elections = headache

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In today’s email:

  • MoviePass: The sequel.
  • TikTok’s plan to not screw up elections.
  • BLTs… as an economic indicator?
  • Around the web: The first website, why people love brown noise, how to say no, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast to hear about TikTok’s plan to not screw up US elections, as the average user spends 11+ hours in the app per week.

The big idea
moviegoers

Will MoviePass’ return help struggling theaters?

MoviePass is back with original founder Stacy Spikes at the helm.

A waitlist opens Thursday for a beta launch on Labor Day, and it’s already partnered with a quarter of US theaters, per Business Insider.

Spikes founded MoviePass in 2011…

… but was ousted in 2018 by Helios and Matheson Analytics, which bought, then annihilated the business via bad (and occasionally unethical) moves, like the highly unsustainable decision to offer a movie a day for a mere ~$10/mo.

However, MoviePass was credited with a bump in theater attendance in 2017; one analytics firm found it increased concession sales by 81% YoY at AMC and 101% YoY at Cinemark.

And theaters need help

Cineworld is considering bankruptcy to reduce its debt burden, blaming a lack of films despite blockbuster draws like Top Gun: Maverick.

  • Compared to 2019, new releases are down 38% while Hollywood recovers from the pandemic.
  • Some films — like Hulu’s hit Prey — are going straight to streaming.

So, what’s different now?

Instead of unlimited viewings, MoviePass’ tiered subscription offers credits for $10-$30/mo.

  • Spikes previously said it’d cost fewer credits if users saw a matinee or older film, and that users could watch ads to earn credits.

It’s a strategy that just might get butts in seats during off hours, or for movies people might otherwise wait to stream.

The next anticipated blockbuster — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — doesn’t open until November.

But smaller releases in between — Don’t Worry Darling, The Woman King, Triangle of Sadness — may appeal to cinephiles willing to give MoviePass a second chance.

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SNIPPETS

Downer: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 600+ points Monday, marking its worst day since June amid speculation of new remarks from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

Signify Health stock jumped 32% following reports that Amazon wants to buy it. Yesterday, we discussed why America may need a Dr. Bezos.

Game of Woes: So many people — 9.9m+ — watched HBO’s “House of the Dragon” Sunday that thousands of devices crashed. Here’s a neat TikTok of multiple apartments watching together, unknowingly.

A small New Jersey deli, once the sole asset of a public company valued at $100m, has reportedly closed.

Elon Musk subpoenaed former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in an effort to collect evidence in preparation for his Oct. 17 court date with Twitter.

420k apartments are expected to be built in the US this year. Besides 2021, it’s the first 400k+ year since 1972.

Ford is cutting ~3k white-collar jobs in the US, Canada, and India as it restructures around an electric future.

Meme culture: Here’s how a 2018 photo of Denise Sanchez and her ex at a music festival became this week’s ultimate meme, used even by politicians.

ICYMI: The Hustle blog studied 12 companies using Web3 to innovate, grow, and profit, and broke down their strategies for success in a deck.

Chart
social screen time

Singdhi Sokpo

TikTok’s plan to not screw up midterms

TikTok is great in that a hilariously remixed video of a kid eating corn can pop off overnight.

It’s less great in that it’s also relatively easy for misinformation to do the same.

TikTok has struggled with election misinformation in the US and other countries, but it hopes to better protect users during the upcoming midterms through:

  • Improved labeling on political videos that people can use to access an “Elections Center” with authoritative sources in 45+ languages.
  • Strong enforcement of its paid political ad ban, even for videos influencers make on behalf of others.

During the 2020 election, TikTok wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today. Now, with the average user spending 11+ hours a week in the app, the spotlight is on TikTok to prove itself.

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Macroeconomics and Cheese
Pret A Manger restaurant

SOPA Images / Getty

The economic indicator that uses egg-and-cheese sandwiches

By most counts, Pret A Manger is a mediocre sandwich chain.

But more than that, Bloomberg uses it to track economic activity.

How can a BLT be an economic indicator?

Prets are generally located around cities’ financial districts and airports.

Bloomberg’s “Pret Index” looks at transaction volume from January 2020 as a baseline to follow changes in:

  • Work habits: In March 2021, volume in downtown London dropped to a third of pre-pandemic levels, signaling a shift to remote work.
  • Travel demand: Volume at London’s airports has risen consistently since early 2021, signaling a return to pre-pandemic flying habits.

The index can also show how cities compare to each other. For example, downtown NYC’s Prets have been slower to recover than London’s.

So, while Pret’s chicken salad wrap may be nothing to write home about, it comes with a nifty side of macroeconomic insights.

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AROUND THE WEB

🖥️ On this day: In 1991, the first website launched to the public. Developed by Swiss professor Tim Berners-Lee, http://info.cern.ch is still online today.

🎧 That’s interesting: How brown noise helps you focus.

🙅‍♀️ How to: Instead of ghosting, learn to say no.

👀 That’s cool: A gallery of 360-degree photos and videos.

🦒And now: Snacks for giraffes.

Meme
price meme

Follow Sara on Twitter

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