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Vice is set to miss revenue targets by $800m… verrryy edgy… The Hustle Tues, Nov 21 Brought to you by Grow… analytics you can actually understand. 28 days later: It’s been a rough month for media November’s been a wild...
Programmatic advertising just ain’t what it used to be. And with an increasing cut of digital ad dollars going to platforms like Google and Facebook, if there’s one thing to take from the past few weeks, it’s that “too big to fail” doesn’t apply.
To recap the big media shakeups in the past month:
Mashable sells for ⅕ its previous year’s valuation: Valued at $250m after their funding round last March, the tech news site sold for a mere $50m, and plans to post a loss in 2017.
Oath pledges to lay off 500+: The digital Frankenstein cobbled together from Yahoo, AOL, and HuffPo’s brands announced major layoffs just months after AOL’s CEO announced its rebrand with the battle cry: “#TakeTheOath. Summer 2017.”
Vice and Buzzfeed shoot for the moon… and miss:BuzzFeed is expected to miss its $350m annual revenue target by as much as 20%, while WSJ reports that Vice will likely miss its revenue goals by nearly $800m.
Hold your horses, Vice and Buzzfeed are still crushing it
We’re not saying it’s the digital media end times. Buzzfeed and Vice are still doing well over a billion in revenue combined, and even the New York Times has boosted their digital subscriptions thanks to strategic partnerships with companies like Spotify.
But the point is no one’s immune to the trends — and even tastemakers like Buzzfeed and Vice have to keep their eyes on the horizon, lest they too go the way of the glossy: once “en vogue,” no longer in business.
Tencent just joined the prestigious tech giant $500B club
Tencent is the first Asian company ever to cross a $500B valuation, despite being relatively unknown in the Western hemisphere.
But, a little nudge was all it took: yesterday their shares jumped 4.1% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, bumping their valuation to about $510B and into the circles of tech royalty.
Movin’ on up
Tencent went public back in 2004, but remained quiet for years with fairly tepid stock, until around 2011 when they developed mobile chat app WeChat.
Initially created to rival Facebook-owned WhatsApp, WeChat is now a jack-of-all-trades, allowing their 980m monthly Chinese users (just behind Facebook Messenger’s 1.2B global users) to read the news, hail a cab, and make online payments in-app.
And they’ve had a breakout year: Tencent’s stock’s skyrocketed 120% since the start of 2017, and they recently reported quarterly revenues of $9.8B — up 61% from 2016, due in large part to their smash hit, mobile game Honour of Kings.
Spearheading a new age
While the 500 club’s fearless market cap leader, Apple (valued at $872B), cemented its place back in 2012, Tencent joins a pretty legendary class of 2017 inductees: Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet, and Microsoft all passed the $500B mark this year.
Meanwhile, China’s Alibaba Group is knocking on the door with a market cap just under $480m — just trying to figure out the club’s secret handshake.
You know, the kind of establishment you could live in, and no one would notice. We’re talking about brick-and-mortar megastores like Walmart, that hawk everything from baby carrots to car tires under the same roof.
Sun Art is one of the few retail chains with a nationwide presence in China’s highly fragmented grocery market market (yes, a market of markets), and they’ve been making grabs in a number of grocery and retail companies in hopes of unifying the space.
Anything Jeff can do, Jack can do better
So sure, a $2.9B deal isn’t as sexy as a $14B takeover… but this is about strategy, not showmanship.
Revenue from Alibaba’s new retail partnerships have quintupled in the last quarter, and they’ve been droppin’ billions on grocers, malls, and department stores since 2014 — years before Bezos got into the organic hummus game.
Hellooo mood-lit boardrooms: SoulCycle co-founder is WeWork’s new brand officer
SoulCycle co-founder Julie Rice just fired up that motivational dance mix, and she’s spinnin’ on over to WeWork as their chief brand officer.
After leaving SoulCycle in 2016, Rice will focus on promoting community at the office-leasing powerhouse, an initiative she’s been super effective at in the past.
Sounds like a match made in heaven
SoulCycle lives and dies by the connection they have with their members — a philosophy that Rice helped build using things like limited edition merch, inspirational instructors, and locker rooms with amenities straight out of a 5-star hotel.
Now self-proclaimed corporate culture guru WeWork is looking for some of that sweat and soul to rub off on them.
This is a big get for WeWork
WeWork made some big moves this year in hopes of evolving past their signature shared-coworking spaces, recently investing in a coding academy, a wave-pool startup, and an in-house, private elementary school for entrepreneurial kids.
Rice will be heavily involved in these ventures along with her main focus: WeWork’s apartment project called WeLive, designed to help reacquaint urban areas with their lost sense of community in place of the “taverns, cafes and open spaces.”
In other words, prepare for apartment lobbies with really nice scented lotions.
This post is part of Niches Make Riches, a 4-part series in which we talk to people who made money in strange, unconventional ways. This week, we caught up with Mike Merrill, a man who sold shares of himself to investors and let them control his life.
The man who sold shares of himself
Back in 2008, 30-year-old Mike Merrill was at a career crossroads. So, he did what any other aspiring entrepreneur would do: he divided himself into 100k shares at $1 apiece and let people on the internet buy a stake in his life.
Since then, he’s sold off 10,991 shares of himself to 663 investors all across the world.
These shareholders — most of whom are complete strangers — get voting power on every major decision Merrill makes: whether or not to get a vasectomy, how much sleep he should get each night, and even who he should date.
He only releases shares in small batches and allows the market to determine his worth. Over the course of 9 years, one share of Mike Merrill has fluctuated in price from 99 cents to $18, based on demand.
Some early investors (including his own brother) chose to cash out big, while others have been in it for the long haul. In return, Merrill gets his own “personal board of advisors” to help him more decisively wade through life’s decisions.
But being a publicly-traded human has come with some grave consequences…
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