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Regarding the latest TikTok challenge, the FDA says not to marinate your chicken in NyQuil. Perhaps stick to something with garlic and lemon juice.

In today’s email:

  • Interchange fees: Retailers hate ‘em.
  • Chart: News about news on social media.
  • Monthly subscriptions… for sports tickets?
  • Around the Web: How to organize, explaining earworms, a tricky game, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss people who use TikTok for news, Ted Lasso’s video game debut, why stores hate swipe fees, and more.

The big idea
credit card

Interchange fees, explained

Two bipartisan bills are taking aim at interchange fees, a dreaded cost among merchants when processing card payments.

Backing the bills are a slew of retailers — including Walmart, Target, and Kroger — which claim fees are over 7x higher in the US than Europe.

What are interchange fees?

Every time a customer pays by card, merchants are charged processing fees — totaling ~$137.8B for US merchants in 2021.

Interchange fees (AKA swipe fees) are the largest among them, accounting for 70%-90%.

They’re collected by the four credit card networks — Discover, American Express, Visa, and Mastercard — and paid to the bank that issued the card to cover associated risks and costs.

  • Fees are typically 1%-3% of a customer’s transaction.
  • Fees are ~6x higher for credit transactions than debit, and higher still for rewards cards.

Because fees are often passed onto consumers, retailers also argue they’re an “inflation multiplier” that costs the average US family an estimated $900 annually.

Visa and Mastercard…

… account for 83%+ of all US credit card market share.

But the bills would allow businesses to use alternate payment networks that could increase competition and reduce fees, per NPR.

  • Credit card networks argue that if swipe fees went down, so would rewards and points programs.
  • Experts say those programs won’t disappear entirely as they’re valuable for customer retention.

Legislation aside, the Visa-Mastercard duopoly could also face threats from new payment apps that bypass traditional networks.

Case in point: Visa’s attempt to buy one such competitor, Plaid, for $5.3B in 2020 was blocked by federal antitrust regulators, per The Economist.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Lol: The internet is having a jolly time sharing work and business memes of a flummoxed raccoon opening a dumpster door. Here’s one more.


The Fed hiked benchmark interest rates another 0.75 percentage points and hinted it would continue to raise rates to fight inflation.

See ya: Over 700 Twitter employees have left the company since June, with sources naming Elon Musk as a cause.

Hmm: Getty Images banned AI-generated images from being uploaded and sold on the platform, citing copyright concerns.

New York’s MTA will install 13k cameras on its subway cars — or two on each, costing $5.5m total —  to instill a sense of safety.

New boss: Warner Music Group tapped YouTube business chief Robert Kyncl as its next CEO as labels expand deeper into media, gaming, and tech.

The National Transportation Safety Board wants all new US vehicles to be able to check drivers’ blood alcohol levels and stop them if they’re drunk.

Credit Suisse reported ~2.5m new US millionaires in 2021, the largest recorded increase in any country this century.

Eataly, an Italian-market chain with ~40 locations, will sell a majority stake to European firm Investindustrial to further global expansion.

Tech firms are looking to cut costs — by at least 10%, in Meta’s case — by nudging some employees out without laying them off.

Iran restricted internet access amid widespread protest following the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by “morality police” for violating hijab rules.

Riding to the top: Skateboarder-turned-serial entrepreneur Rob Dyrdek chatted with Trends about his philosophy on life and business. Check out a preview on The Hustle blog.

percentage of users getting their news on each social media site by year

Singdhi Sokpo

How Americans get news on socials

The Pew Research Center, whose jingle should go something like this, just released its latest findings on a world where half of US adults now get news from social media.

Regularly, 31% get news from Facebook, 25% from YouTube, 14% from Twitter, 13% from Instagram, and 10% from TikTok.

  • Interestingly, Twitter has the highest proportion of users who use its platform for news, at 53%.

Since 2020, only TikTok has seen significant growth in this category.

One thing we’re curious about is the 4% of US adults who get their news from Nextdoor.

“BREAKING: Patricia and Mike had a block party and didn’t invite the Smiths!”

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playing sports

Why sports teams are selling subscriptions

VCs salivate when they hear “monthly recurring revenue,” but it no longer applies to just tech companies.

Sports teams, too, are now offering ticket subscriptions to generate predictable revenue.

How it works

Fans pay a monthly fee for a certain number of games, with seat location dependent on availability (so nosebleeds are a possibility).

  • The NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers’ $99 Flyers Pass gets fans tickets to four games per month.
  • The NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers’ unlimited passes are $49 and $89/mo., depending on seat locations.

The model targets casual or budget-conscious fans who don’t want to shell out thousands for season tickets.

Cash is king

A ~$25 Flyers Pass game sure is cheaper than the average standalone ticket, but the upfront revenue boosts cash flow — and cash flow can drive a franchise’s valuation.

Plus, like movie theaters, sports teams make wild margins from concessions, merchandise, and parking.

  • For example, drinks have 90%+ margins, while popcorn brings home ~80%.

By subsidizing tickets, teams could entice fans to splurge on $8.50 nachos.

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🚗 On this day: In 1953, the first four-level interchange — described as “a mad motorist’s dream” — opened in Los Angeles.

👀 Cure boredom: A surprisingly complicated matching game.

🧠 How to: Notifications, 60+ browser tabs, and a planner full of scribbles? Try Tiago Forte’s PARA method instead.

🎶 That’s interesting: Why you can’t remember important stuff, but can remember all the words to “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies.

🍌 Aww: And now, a red panda eating bananas.

Nextdoor meme

Wanna laugh? Best of Nextdoor.

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “No swipe fees” Dent.

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