A gender gap in phones??


March 5, 2019

The gender phone gap is a $700B problem, but first…
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OxyContin giant, Purdue Pharma, weighs potential bankruptcy filing

Purdue Pharma LP is exploring Chapter 11 bankruptcy to tackle potential liabilities from hundreds of lawsuits claiming the pharma giant contributed to the deadly opioid crisis that’s afflicting the US.

Purdue, which has been slingin’ Oxy since it was approved in ’95, is on trial in lawsuits filed by 1.6k cities, counties, and states for costs incurred by opioid abuse.

According to sources, the bankruptcy filing isn’t set in stone and Purdue could still decide to continue fighting the lawsuits.

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again…

Opioids were involved in 47.6k overdose deaths in 2017 — a sixfold increase from 1999, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. 

The Oval Office finally declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency in 2017, and a year later, Purdue Pharma cut 50% of its sales team in an attempt to walk back its aggressive sales tactics.

Yet Purdue claims they’ve done nothing wrong

Despite pleading guilty of misrepresenting OxyContin in 2007 (and paying out $600m+ in fines), Purdue continues to deny the allegations made in the lawsuits.

Of course, a Purdue-sponsored promotional video from ’98 that claimed OxyContin is less addictive than other opioids seems to directly contradict these claims of innocence.

Perhaps more shocking than the company’s blatant lies is the amount of swag-tastic marketing they put into the drug: We’re talking OxyContin hats, stuffed animals, even an OxyContin CD (with the song “Get in the Swing With OxyContin” on it).

We repeat: The filing is not definitive

Despite generating $1.8B from OxyContin alone in 2017, Purdue’s assets may not be enough to solve the company’s potential liability — largely because most of its profits had been regularly transferred to members of the company’s controlling family, the Sacklers.

For decades, companies have sought Chapter 11 as a lifeline to manage litigation liabilities. PG&E filed in January to help with more than $30B in potential liability costs connected to its part in sparking deadly wildfires.

A bankruptcy filing would immediately halt the lawsuits against Purdue and provide opportunities to settle the claims on a global basis overseen by the bankruptcy court.

Pharma meets Dharma
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Luminary has raised $100m, and the rest of the podcast industry is listening

The podcast network Luminary just closed a round of $60m in fresh cash, bringing its total amount of funding to more than $100m. 

Unlike other ’casting competitors that have been acquired by larger companies like Spotify for princely sums of cash, Luminary has remained independent by charging for its star-studded subscription products.

Big noise from big names

Unlike competitors who offer free, ad-supported podcasts, Luminary charges $8/month of ad-free access to larger-than-life radio personalities including Guy Raz, Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Trevor Noah, and Conan O’Brien.

Luminary will also offer free access to 600k “non-premium” podcasts (which will include ads) in its marketplace, but it will rely on its exclusive content to keep the lights on.

An independent voice in the podcast industry

The podcasting industry has consolidated rapidly in recent months. 

A radio consortium headlined by NPR bought Pocket Casts last May, and Spotify acquired platforms Gimlet and Anchor in February and announced plans to spend a total of $500m on its podcast platform shopping spree.

For now, Luminary has enough cash to stay independent for a while if it wants to: For perspective, Gimlet media — which Spotify bought for about $230m in February — had only raised a total of $28.5m at the time it was acquired.

» In Pod We Trust

Domino’s opens its 16,000th store despite disappointing earnings

Although Domino’s stock recently posted its worst performance in more than a year, the chain still sits atop the throne of big pizza, as it outpaces the industry in same-store sales numbers.

Now, Domino’s is opening its 16kth store, gaining market share as it remains the market leader for “fast” pizza, with Pizza Hut in 2nd place, Little Caesars in 3rd, and Papa John’s in 4th.

If you build it, they will eat

Domino’s has grown by nearly 50% over the past 5 years, rapidly adding 4.8k stores since 2014. It has plans to add thousands more as the battle for pizza supremacy continues to sizzle.

To keep boosting sales, Domino’s announced another major American expansion last year, and plans to add another 2.4k stores in the US by 2028.

In anticipation of further expansion, the chain is investing between $115m and $120m in its supply chain.

It’s not the other giants Domino’s needs to worry about

While Pizza Hut and Papa John’s are still scratching and clawing to gain footing, smaller, more innovative players in the industry could soon be chewing into Domino’s sales.

Fast-casual chains like the Lebron James-backed Blaze Pizza are rapidly expanding and could soon prove to be meaningful threats. Blaze, which has more than 300 locations, is also considering an IPO.

» Making dough out of dough

Women around the world lack access to cell phones, and it’s at least a $700B problem

Cell phone operators are losing more than $140B in annual revenue in global communities where few women own cell phones. 

According to cell phone industry research reported by Axios, developing countries have been the driving force behind the global boom in cell-phone ownership — but phone ownership has been anything but equal between genders.

Global growth, but with a gender gap 

Across the globe, the number of cell phone and mobile internet users has been on the rise for years: Since 2014, cell companies have added more than 700m new cell phone junkies to the global network in developing countries. 

But women lag far behind men when it comes to cell phone adoption (a gender gap with a breakdown similar to global literacy rates and pay rates).

Compared to men in developing countries, 197m fewer women own cell phones (a 10% gap) and 313m fewer women use the mobile internet (a 23% gap)  — costing cell companies $140B in potential annual revenue. 

A problem that rings true far beyond cell phones

The financial toll of the cell phone gap will only grow over time: The global economy could lose $700B in GDP over the next 5 years if the gender cell phone gap doesn’t close.

But it’s even more problematic for a wide variety of social reasons: Lack of phone access also limits female access to education, healthcare, and jobs.

If cell phones companies help get more women connected, that’s a good thing — but should it take an eye-popping profit margin for global businesses to throw women a freakin’ phone?

» Please hold
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