Are movie theaters ready to Netflix and chill?


August 22, 2019

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Today, upside-down banking only starts with the yield curve and McD’s jumps into podcasting with verve, but first…

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Scorsese’s latest Oscar contender gets caught in the ‘streaming wars’ crossfire

When Scorsese proposed his latest film, “The Irishman,” he went to one of the few production studios that wouldn’t bat an eye at his $159m budget: Netflix. 

This time, he’s pulling out all the stops: Sure, it has Robert De Niro, but the guy also brought Joe Pesci out of retirement to play a mobster — hell, he even threw in Ray Romano for a little spice.

Now, it’s uncertain whether the Oscar contender the The New York Times dubbed his “grandest statement yet on the intersection of organized crime and American politics” (AKA “The Departed” on steroids), will ever see a major theater.

Netflix wants gold men, but it wants green men more

Dollars. We’re talking about dollars, people. Netflix’s core streaming business is still the #1 priority and it’s not going to let an ego trip like a major theater release distract from its mission of screen domination.

Which is why, when theater chains like AMC and Cineplex demanded the conventional 3-month exclusive before releasing “The Irishman” for streaming, Netflix told them to stick it where the sun don’t shine.

After all, NYT writes that “95% of movies stop earning their keep in theaters at the 42-day mark, well short of the three-month window demanded by major chains.”

In a world… where movies are released straight to Netflix

Netflix has worked with independent theater chains like Alamo Drafthouse and on exclusive theater releases for larger pictures like “Bird Box” (one week) and Oscar winner “Roma” (21 days).

But, Netflix spent $12 billion on original content in 2018, and you can bet it’s squeezing every view per dollar that it possibly can. It has the cash, it has the reach — now it’s trying to change the way the movie industry works completely through sheer force of clout.

Planned for a September 27th festival premier, it’s still unclear where viewers will be able to watch the film. And still, no one has answered the biggest question of all: Is Ray Romano making a comeback?

This is huge for him
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Mickey D’s is the latest company to hop on the branded podcast bandwagon

In 2017, McDonald’s underestimated demand for a re-release of its teriyaki-tinged Szechuan Sauce. Then, as diners fought to get their paws on those precious packets, chaos followed: a Change.org petition calling for the condiment’s return garnered more than 45k supporters.

Then, Mickey D’s did them one better. In addition to whipping up more dip, it launched “The Sauce,” a 3-episode podcast “investigating” what went wrong. 

It was hardly an exposé, but the “Serial”-inspired series was a hit… and McDonald’s isn’t the only brand to start streaming.

Brands are getting on the mic … and reaping the rewards

Consumers who seem unwilling to watch YouTube ads seem to have no problem tuning in to branded podcasts. 

Even in a competitive space — estimates show there are about 750k podcasts — “The Sauce” peaked at #94 on iTunes’ top-100 chart. 

Another branded success, “Inside Trader Joe’s,” hit #5 on the same chart… and you can bet your Two-Buck Chuck there were some product placements.

But storytelling is what matters

Media critics worry brand-sponsored podcasts blur the line between advertising and entertainment, with some going so far as to denounce them as propaganda. 

But others point out that something sounding like a commercial is going to be a turnoff, and listeners will tune out and move on.

Are you listening?
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European banks are making people pay to put their money in the bank. Umm… what?

In Denmark and Switzerland, banks are offering customers negative interest rates, meaning that consumers will actually have to pay to put their money in the bank, reports the Washington Post.

It all started with that gosh dang inverted yield curve

You’ve probably already heard the bad news: The yield curve inverted. 

That means bond buyers are betting the value of Treasury bonds will decrease — a sign that a recession is coming. Since people are worried about a recession, they’ve stopped borrowing money from banks. 

Banks don’t like that — after all, lending money is how banks keep the lights on — so they’ve lowered the cost of borrowing (the interest rate) to get people spending again. Some banks — like Jyske Bank in Denmark — are even paying people to borrow money. 

But paying people to borrow is expensive, and banks need to make up for that lost revenue somehow… and that’s why Jyske and others are making people pay to put their money in the bank.

So, what does this mean for the global economy?

In the short term, it means Denmark’s gonna get weird (some Danes are already paying back less than what they borrowed to buy their houses thanks to negative interest rates on their mortgages).

The rest of the world — which has normal, positive interest rates — should stay right-side up… for now, anyway. 

But if these bizarre banking programs don’t get Danes spending, a global recession could result — and other countries could turn topsy-turvy, too.

Den-Mark my words…

AI and AR meet the beauty industry

If it seems like every other post you see on Instagram and YouTube is an influencer pitching a new makeup product, well, you’re on to something: Beauty-related YouTube views have quadrupled over the last 3 years.

Now that online viewing and AR lets buyers digitally preview products, traditional makeup counters are in a fight for their pretty little lives. 

Forget Sephora… 

To personalize their skincare routines, people need only take selfies on apps made by companies like Olay and L’Oreal. 

The AR technology lets make-up wearers visualize their faces in new makeup, keep track of UV exposure, and approximate what their faces will look like in the future depending on their skincare routines (it’s like an upscale FaceApp!).

More videos = more makeup

The increase in videos and new apps for makeup means more than just the end of the makeup counter. As trying on makeup becomes more convenient and trips to Sephora become more unnecessary, consumers will purchase products more often — and companies will need to fill the demand.

Plus, all those influencers need new products to pitch.

The Beauty Tech Boom →  

Want to know how makeup brands are ditching the makeup counter?

The previous story was adapted from a Trends report by The Hustle. Check out the full story here.

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