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After struggling to charm locals, Domino’s just closed its last store in Italy. Evidently, the birthplace of pizza wasn’t wowed by 30-minute delivery.

P.S. Check out the highly requested crypto guide, down below.

In today’s email:

  • Netflix: Streaming’s spooky future.
  • Chart: Flying taxis, OTW?
  • How to… get folks to move to Iowa.
  • Around the web: An unsinkable nurse, to-do list alternatives, why great ideas aren’t unique, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to learn about why the economics of scary movies are perfect for streaming. Plus: Spotify moves, Disney earnings, and more.

The big idea
streaming a ghost movie

Should streamers get spoooooky?

Prey — a Predator reboot in which a Comanche woman battles the alien hunter — became Hulu’s most-viewed premiere this weekend. (According to many critics, it also ruled.)

Peter Csathy, founder of advisory firm Creative Media, told CNBC he thinks that Netflix should further embrace horror.

For one, Netflix’s target demo likes it. Many of its hits are horror or horror-adjacent — “Stranger Things,” “The Witcher,” “Midnight Mass,” “Squid Game,” Fear Street.

But most importantly, horror is cheap

Scary movies can crush with even a small budget, a strategy horror studio Blumhouse Productions has capitalized on for years.

  • Fun fact: Per The Hollywood Reporter, the two most profitable films, when comparing box office to budget, are both found-footage horror films: Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project.

Csathy’s pitch for Netflix is that small budgets allow for mistakes, whereas with big budget flicks “if you screw up, you’re screwed.”

Streamers don’t have box office numbers

Their profits come via subscriber growth and, if they get a “Stranger Things” hit, merchandise.

But looking at viewing hours, action flick Red Notice is Netflix’s most popular film, while horror film Bird Box ranks third.

  • Red Notice cost $200m, while Bird Box’s budget was $19.8m, meaning Bird Box got 77% of the viewership for less than 10% of the cost. And Bird Box, thanks to myriad memes, was talked about for days.

Horror movies are also ripe for franchising, spawning sequels and reboots that often bring old fans (and subscribers?) back for more.

That is, if they’re done well. This year’s positively reviewed Scream grossed $140m. Let’s, uh… Let’s just not talk about that Firestarter remake, okay?

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SNIPPETS

Disney+ subscriptions rose to 152.1m last quarter, beating expectations, though Disney’s streaming services lost $1.1B and the company lowered its closely eyed subscriber forecast for 2024.

Coming down? Consumer prices rose 8.5% YoY in July, which is less than expected, and indicates inflation could be easing up.

A new Pew survey found 95% of US teens use YouTube, 67% use TikTok, and 32% use Facebook (down from 71% in 2015). Plus, 36% say they spend too much time on socials, and 8% say they spend too little.

Spotify launched a new site for selling concert tickets directly to fans, as opposed to routing users to sites like Ticketmaster.

Spreadin’ the love: AppLovin, whose software helps apps grow, offered to buy Unity for $17.5B. The deal, if accepted, would terminate Unity’s $4.4B planned acquisition of ironSource, an AppLovin competitor.

Emoji fun: Microsoft wants creators to get creative with its 1.5k+ new emoji. The company is open sourcing emoji for people to remix on Figma and GitHub.

Ok, boomer: This Trends report dives into lucrative opportunities serving millions of retiring boomer business owners.

Chart
major airlines' agreements to buy eVTOL aircraft

Singdhi Sokpo

United Airlines just made a down payment on flying taxis

Yesterday, United Airlines dropped $10m to bring the prospect of flying cabs a little closer to reality.

The payment was made toward 100 of the 200 eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft it previously requested from Archer Aviation.

The deal at large is valued at $1B, so it appears this payment brings them 1% of the way there.

  • American Airlines, which invested $25m in Vertical Aerospace last year, just committed to pre-delivery payments for 50 of their eVTOLs — money yet to be seen.

One problem…

Red tape. The aircraft aren’t approved to fly passengers, though the FAA is working on aircraft examinations, developing pilot requirements, and new airspace procedures, and could grant some certifications by 2024.

Michael Leskinen, head of United’s venture arm, told The Wall Street Journal that the company will announce routes within months and that prices will be like riding in an Uber Black.

We’ll believe it when we see it.

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Free Resource

A beginner’s guide to cryptocurrency

We recently asked what y’all wanted to learn about crypto…

… and over 57% of readers who responded to our survey said they wanted more information on keeping up with crypto trends and currencies.

We’re proud to present A Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency. It’s complete with detailed chapters on understanding, starting, and managing a portfolio at your own pace. Invest wisely!

Inside the full intro to crypto:

  • Getting started with crypto (checklist)
  • How crypto and blockchain work
  • Popular currencies and use cases
  • The ROI of crypto
  • Three ways to start investing

To the moon, as they say. But first, to the guide…

Crypto decoded →
Population: You?
Iowa

Looking for a new gig? Consider rural Iowa

Pella, Iowa — home to 10k residents, two bars, and over two dozen churches — may not sound that exciting to a city slicker.

But local window and door manufacturer Pella Corporation is hoping a $30m upgrade will attract new talent and turn Pella into a company town, per The Wall Street Journal.

Pella’s investments include:

  • Housing
  • Child care facilities
  • Restaurants
  • An indoor entertainment center

Another $6m will help fund a rec center with swimming pools, three gyms, and a rock-climbing wall.

Pella fits the trend…

… of underappreciated cities — like Tulsa and Topeka — attempting to lure millennials from “sexier” cities.

With median American home prices at ~$429k, more affordable cities may appeal to the generation with the fastest-growing debt load.

The median home price in Pella is ~$340k, but there’s one problem:

There isn’t enough housing

Currently, only ~25% of Pella Corp.’s ~2.5k local employees live in Pella, and available homes get snatched up quickly.

To help, the family that owns controlling shares in Pella Corp. recently purchased 160 acres of farmland to build affordable housing — though locals aren’t keen on any modern construction that clashes with the town’s Dutch aesthetic.

Fun fact: Pella boasts the tallest working Dutch windmill in North America.

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AROUND THE WEB

⚖️ On this day: In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at the infamous Alcatraz Island, formerly used as a US military prison. Mob boss Al Capone would arrive later that month.

🚢 That’s interesting: Violet “Miss Unsinkable” Jessop was a nurse who survived three maritime disasters, including the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and the Britannic in 1916.

📄 How to: Tired of your to-do list? Try these doc suggestions instead.

🎧 Podcast: Most successful ideas are built off others. Listen to this Nudge episode to find out why your great ideas aren’t unique (and why that’s a good thing).

🦎 Aww: And now, that’s one big “kid.”

Meme
Netflix meme

And I’ll watch it, anyway. (Source: imgflip.com)

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst, Mia Sullivan.
Editing by: Mark “I Know What You Did Last Summer” Dent.

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