🥊 Let’s get ready to rumble - The Hustle
The Hustle

🥊 Let’s get ready to rumble

Plus: Amazon’s ad business, weekend reads, scheduling tips, and more.

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Canada’s Candy Funhouse is offering $78k and an “extensive” dental plan for a chief candy officer. There is one stipulation — candidates must be five or older.

In today’s email:

  • Title fight: Stallone vs. Hollywood.
  • Chart: Amazon’s growing ad biz.
  • Weekend reads for your Sunday Pizza Beer.
  • Around the web: How to have fewer meetings, an impressive metal mashup, the history of a viral oops, and more neat internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast to hear Mark, Zack, and Juliet discuss Cracker Barrel backlash, DoorDash’s big quarter, and the mess that is creative rights in Hollywood, from Rocky to Top Gun.

The big idea

Sylvester Stallone picks the ultimate fight

Think Apollo Creed is a tough opponent? Try duking it out with the heavyweights of corporate Hollywood.

In a since-deleted Instagram post lamenting the announcement of a new spinoff in the Rocky film franchise, Sylvester Stallone said, “I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites.”

This may sound like your average tiff between a superrich person and a ridiculously rich consortium of people, but it’s more than that. According to entertainment industry website Puck, this is “estate planning, Hollywood-style.”

Sly’s big problem…

… is that he has no control or financial stake in the Rocky franchise. Among the owners of Rocky are Amazon (of course), which purchased MGM last year, and 91-year-old producer Irwin Winkler.

  • Winkler bought Rocky off Stallone when he had $100 to his name and was as down on his luck as the young fighter from Philly.

The deal wasn’t unusual. Writers sell rights to studios and producers all the time. That’s how movies get made.

Plus, Stallone has earned absurd amounts of back-end off Rocky films, the latest of which made $200m+ in box office, not to mention a 2016 Oscar nomination (even though Michael B. Jordan was far more deserving of a statue).

But Rocky won’t pay him forever

When Stallone reaches the giant boxing ring in the sky, he won’t be able to star in any more movies. If he were a rightsholder, as he once told Variety, his kids could earn annuities from the franchise.

So, how is this going to play out? We’re not sure. Sorry to leave you on a Cliffhanger.

SNIPPETS

After the bell: Warner Bros. Discovery reported 92.1m total subscribers across HBO, HBO Max, and Discovery+ — a gain of 1.7m subs since Q1. The company wouldn’t reveal numbers for each service.

Sentenced: WNBA star Brittney Griner was found guilty of drug possession and smuggling, and sentenced to nine years in Russian prison. President Biden promptly criticized the verdict and called for her release.

Good news for homebuyers? US mortgage rates fell to 4.9%, the lowest rate since April.

Bye: Jeff Bezos’ 417-foot megayacht was towed back to a Rotterdam shipyard after city officials decided that, no, they won’t dismantle a historic bridge to accommodate its enormous size.

Cryptoccino: Starbucks enters the metaverse next month with coffee-themed NFTs. Owners will get various perks, perhaps linked to Starbucks’ existing loyalty program.

SoundCloud will lay off ~20% of its workforce, citing a changing company and a challenging economic environment. It last reduced its workforce by 40% in 2017.

Ask The Hustle: How do you balance a budding business with a full-time job and family? Find tips on capitalizing your time and prioritizing goals on The Hustle blog.

Chart

Selina Lee

Amazon’s ad biz is growing faster than its rivals

If you’ve ever shopped for literally anything on Amazon, it’s no surprise that it has a robust digital ad business catering to brands that want to promote products on its website and app.

What is surprising is that Amazon’s digital ad revenue grew 18% YoY to $8.76B in Q2 — more than analysts expected and outpacing Google and Facebook.

In fact, Facebook’s revenue shrank for the first time ever by 1.5%.

Why?

  • Unlike the social media companies, Amazon isn’t affected by Apple’s privacy update, which lets iOS users opt out of targeted ad tracking.
  • People on Amazon are already there to shop. Insider Intelligence analyst Andrew Lipsman told CNBC that Amazon is more likely to offer an ROI, key for brands worried about a recession.
  • For brands, Amazon ads are 68% cheaper than Google’s and 44% cheaper than Facebook’s when comparing average cost-per-click.

Fun fact: Amazon also has a virtual product placement tool, meaning it can insert brands into its TV shows and movies in postproduction.

Recs

Welcome to Weekend Reads…

… Recs to pair with your Friday prune juice (for the OGs), Saturday lemonade, or Sunday Pizza Beer.

ICYMI

  • We dove into a little-known provision in a 100-year-old contract that’s helped people mint millions off royalties from the mouthwash Listerine.
  • Chicken sandwich prices are up, but so is demand — and chickens are printing that cock-a-doodle-dough.
  • As startups disrupt industries, it’s increasingly important to inject that entrepreneurial spirit into your company. The Hustle blog wrote about the benefits of entrepreneur in residence programs.

Spot the fake

  • Elon Musk’s fourth-grade teacher is reportedly auctioning off a drawing of a spaceship that little Musk drew back in the day…
  • … Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg’s camp counselor is auctioning off Zuck’s personal baseball card from when the CEO was eight years old.
  • Pearson, everyone’s favorite textbook publisher, sees NFTs and the blockchain in its future.

Someone on Airbnb listed an “1830s slave cabin” for rent in Mississippi with a 4.97-star rating and 68 reviews.

AROUND THE WEB

⚰️ On this day: In 1926, Harry Houdini survived 91 minutes in a coffin submerged at the bottom of a hotel pool.

🎸Wow: Listen to Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” (in the spotlight thanks to “Stranger Things”) in 50 different musical styles.

🏀 That’s interesting: Unraveling the history of a viral internet clip of an unfortunate basketball throw.

😭 How to: Is your schedule so jammed with meetings that you can hardly get anything done? Here’s how to reclaim your time.

🐿️ Aww: And now, petting a tiny squirrel.

Shower Thoughts
  1. “You never see your driving skills with your own eyes.”  SOURCE
    SOURCE

  2. “There is no actual donkey in the Donkey Kong game.”  SOURCE
    SOURCE

  3. “People laugh about how cats love boxes, but if there was suddenly a box bigger than you in your living room, you’d probably go in it too.”  SOURCE
    SOURCE

  4. “Vinegar: At some point someone either started cleaning with food or eating cleaner.”  SOURCE
    SOURCE

  5. “James Webb telescope is the most expensive wallpaper generator in the world.”  SOURCE
    SOURCE

 
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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “It ain’t about how hard you hit” Dent.

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