Like 'Storm Stories' on steroids

The Weather Channel just rolled out mixed-reality weather forecasting for the NFL. The Hustle Sponsored by Everyone’s talking about the Weather (Channel)’s hardcore mixed reality reporting Well, this wasn’t in the forecast: The Weather Channel matters again thanks to pulse-quickening, immersive mixed reality reporting that covers everything from disasters to college football. Under new ownership […]


November 19, 2018

The Weather Channel just rolled out mixed-reality weather forecasting for the NFL.

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Everyone’s talking about the Weather (Channel)’s hardcore mixed reality reporting

Well, this wasn’t in the forecast: The Weather Channel matters again thanks to pulse-quickening, immersive mixed reality reporting that covers everything from disasters to college football.

Under new ownership since March, the Channel has leveraged its growing roster of tech partners to give weather-worriers the sensationalist coverage they deserve, and just this week, the Weather Channel showed off its new sports reporting.

The weather’s back, baby

After buying the Weather Channel off private equity’s clearance rack 8 months ago, media mogul (and former comedian) Byron Allen set out to revitalize the Channel by turning weather into an edge-of-your-seat entertainment experience instead of a chore.

By September, the Weather Channel’s immersive live coverage of Hurricane Florence’s storm surge was so surprisingly exciting that it went viral. So, how AR(e) they doing it?

Making weather cool again

The Weather Channel uses technology from partners IBM (which owns the digital rights to the Weather.com brand) and The Future Group (which makes the ‘Unreal Engine’ that powers many video games) to create “immersive mixed reality” experiences to engage viewers.

The Channel has also produced simulations of tornadoes and wildfires that look more like high-budget disaster flicks than weather broadcasts (watch them without sweating, we dare you).

Now the Weather Channel is targeting another type of weather with high entertainment value: sports weather.

In the forecast: Torrential viewership

Football dominates American TV viewership, so the Weather Channel’s new mixed reality forecasts will help viewers experience the elements their favorite athletes have to endure when playing in different conditions.

But the Weather Channel won’t stop until it’s the most gripping entertainment on the tube: The company plans to use mixed reality for 80% of its reporting by 2020. In early 2019, the company plans to roll out another new type of tech — mixed reality weather time lapses.

When it rains, WC scores

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Schwan’s Co. will sell to the largest food manufacturer in South Korea

Schwan’s, a Minnesota-based food distributor known for its delicious pies and its gold home-delivery trucks, has been sold to Seoul-based CJ CheilJedang — South Korea’s largest food manufacturer.

With the deal expected to close next year, CJCJ will pay $1.8B for an 80% stake in Schwan’s and gain control of its businesses that serve restaurants, grocery stores, and other retailers.

All in the family

Marvin Schwan founded a home-delivery business in Marshall, Minnesota, in 1952. According to Marvin’s son and Schwan’s board member Paul Schwan, it was important to find a company to honor the family’s legacy. With CJCJ, the Schwan’s claim to have found such a business.

The family will retain 20% ownership of the food-distribution biz and 100% ownership of the Schwan’s Home Service Inc. (the home delivery business that Marvin spearheaded all those years ago).

But why Schwan’s?

While the small town home-delivery company may not look like much, it’s done a good job of quietly staying relevant in America by building a massive (and hard-to-replicate) distribution network.

Schwan’s has about $3B in annual sales and employs about 12k. CJCJ (a conglomerate originally part of the Samsung Group), who had $14.5B in sales last year, expects to gain footing and cost efficiency in US stores with the acquisition, with the hopes of bringing Korean products into more US grocery stores and restaurants.

» Schwan dive

Out with the old: BlackBerry looks to buy cybersecurity firm Cylance for $1.4B

BlackBerry will acquire Cylance, an artificial intelligence and cybersecurity company, for $1.4B in cash as it looks to make software for the ‘internet-of-things’ era. Its first stop? Software for next-generation autonomous cars.

The Canadian technology company said the acquisition would enable it to add artificial intelligence capabilities to its existing software products.

Out from cell phones’ shadow

This is BlackBerry’s largest acquisition to date: The early aughts smartphone juggernaut desperately wants the world to know that it is more than just an analog keypad.

Bloomberg reports that the tech company threw in the towel on smartphones in 2016 after realizing it could no longer keep up with Apple and Samsung. It has since shifted to selling software to manage mobile devices and focusing on emerging areas like autonomous cars.

Cylance has been killing it

California-based Cylance develops AI-based products to prevent corporate cyber attacks. The company said in June that its annual revenue in 2018 was about $130m and was growing at close to 90% with more than 3.5k businesses using its products.

According to Business Insider (paywall), analysts have viewed the company as an IPO candidate and the business has raised over $320m from firms like Blackstone, Insight Venture Partners, and others.

» The proud sponsor of Obama’s cell phone

Beyond Meat files for an IPO hoping to become the biggest beefless burger maker

Beyond Meat, a meat-substitute company that makes meatless protein products including “Beyond Burgers,” filed for an IPO with plans to raise $100m.

As more consumers prove willing to move on from meat, investors have pumped funding into several plant-based powerhouses in the past few years, but Beyond Meat is the first to go public.

Expanding Beyond vegans

Beyond Meat is the first vegan company to list on a US stock exchange, but it doesn’t want to be pigeonholed by ‘the v word’ (Beyond sells its products in the meat aisles of supermarkets for this exact reason).

Beyond Meat’s mission is to create meatless protein products tasty enough to appeal to vegans and carnivores alike.

Since the company’s 2009 founding, that vision has attracted investments from omnivores Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio, ex-McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, and Tyson Foods.

Meat-free mania

The past year has been particularly protein-packed for Beyond: In January, the company inked a deal with TGI Fridays, and its revenue in the first 9 months of 2018 ($56.4m) is up 167% from last year.

But Beyond Meat isn’t even the biggest animal-free meat maker in the biz: Impossible Foods, started in 2011, has raised more than 3x as much money ($387.5m in funding to date) and has partnered with White Castle and others to offer beefless burgers in all 50 states.

With the market for meat substitutes expected to grow from $4.6B this year to $6.4B by 2023, Beyond Meat hopes to use its IPO funding to expand beyond the US.

» Well done, Beyond Meat
SPONSORED

For the first time in three years, Leesa’s most popular mattress is getting a makeover

And it only took 200 prototypes.

Because sleep is an art, and perfecting that art takes time. Time that Leesa used to develop a brand new responsive foam for their mattresses. They call it LSA200 Foam Technology, and it’s the real sleepin’ deal.

LSA200 Foam Tech offers improved pressure relief, premium support, and enhanced cooling — because let’s face it, no one wants to be a bed sweater.

What’s that mean for you and your nap habits? They’re about to get a whoooole lot cozier.

Sleep soundly this Black Friday with $150 off a Leesa mattress

As a mattress company, Leesa loves sleep — which is why they’re making sure you get yours by running their Black Friday sale from 11/12 to 11/25.

Instead of staying up ‘til 3AM, throwing elbows at the local strip mall to make sure you snag the bedding you wanted, you can just order your Leesa mattress online.

If you’re ready for the kind of sleep dreams are made of, check out the link below to save $150 on the new and improved Leesa mattress, or get $225 off the luxurious Sapira mattress to really treat yo’ self.

Mo’ bed, less bread →

monday morning review

Thinking big on a budget

When you get to the town of Florence in Boone County, Kentucky, you’ll know.

Not because of some state-sponsored sign with the Boone County bird and a demure slogan, but a massive water tower smack along I-75 that reads simply: FLORENCE Y’ALL.

No ‘Welcome to Florence’ or ‘Florence is Great!’ — just a mysterious sentence fragment as emphatic as it is impartial.

And who do we have to thank for this slice of Americana?

One Hop Ewing, ex-Mayor of Florence.

See, back in 1974, Hop had a problem. Developers of the new Florence Mall had sponsored the construction of a water tower, with one stipulation: That the 1-million-gallon tank be plastered with the words “FLORENCE MALL” to alert oncoming motorists of the soon-to-be-built shopping center.

The marketing stunt was genius — and illegal. State officials informed Hop that they couldn’t advertise something that didn’t exist yet (apparently “generating buzz” hadn’t been invented).

It was on him to find a solution.

But, the little city of Florence wasn’t exactly flush with cash. So, Hop came up with an answer that made up in cost savings what it lacked it elegance: they would cover the two vertical lines of the “M” in “MALL,” add a stem to the remaining “V,” and slap on an apostrophe. FLORENCE, Y’ALL.

It was genius.

The fix cost a total of $500 and created a regional landmark, inspiring countless chotchkies, bumper stickers and even the local baseball team’s mascot, ‘Wally The Watertower.’

Sure, big budgets can boost production value, but they can’t buy vision. In fact, sometimes a tight budget or short deadline are exactly the constraints you need to get really creative.

And call us old fashioned, but at The Hustle, we’re still believers that a pound of resourcefulness is worth an inch of production.

Meet you in Florence, y’all.

— Lindsey Quinn, Managing Editor of The Hustle

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