Take it to the yards

March 15, 2019

Today, Hudson Yards hits NY, and Britons are hoarding toilet paper, but first…
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As media companies struggle to diversify, the Today Show is cashing in on e-commerce

As the internet and mobile phones increasingly take eyes away from traditional television — therefore ads — many media companies are in a mad dash to find new ways to make money. 

Now, companies from the New York Times to Vox and Buzzfeed are supporting the move into e-commerce, and NBC’s the Today Show is leading the charge.

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Fast Company reports that for decades Today has successfully catered to the QVC-loving moms that watch it. But, in 2017, the company decided to lean into its online store as a way to transfer the exposure of its on-air consumer segments into real sales.

That’s where Jill Martin comes in

Jill Martin, who has a lifestyle brand on QVC, and who has hosted Today’s “Steals & Deals,” is now officially joining the show as its lifestyle contributor to help continue the e-commerce push — and it’s working.

Sources show the e-commerce pursuit brought in $60m in 2018 revenue, with expectations that it will continue to grow in 2019.

Out with the old in with the new — but how?

An end of 2018 report from Business Insider shows that e-commerce is growing nearly 5x faster than in-store sales, and is projected to double to $1.1T by 2023.

That growth is led by consumption on mobile devices — with m-commerce (commerce conducted on mobile phones) sales totaling more than $447B

Wirecutter, which the NYT bought in 2016, contributed to $49.4m brought in by NYT’s “digital other revenue” in Q4 of 2018.

But is selling junk the answer?

In 2016, Today reportedly brought in $509m in ad revenue. Meaning that $60m is still a miniscule piece of the pie.

Megyn Kelly brought in $180m in ad sales alone during her 12 months at NBC. Meaning one year of e-commerce for Today equals about 4 months of Kelly’s ad sales.

But traffic to Today’s “Steals & Deals” shot up over 80% in 2018. Basically, unless a dystopic mobile phone purge blankets the globe in 2019, there’s a good chance that growth will continue.

Sellin’ trash and munchin’ cash.
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Dollar General advances the troops

The discount store is reportedly opening 975 new stores this year, up 75 from 2018, as it continues its 29-year growth spurt — and for just 99 cents, you can too! (That’s how it works, right?)

Rabbithole: Dollar Stores aren’t always a good deal.

WeWork’s startup spinoff now has its own spinoff, Food Labs

WeWork Labs, spun off from its co-working parent last year as an accelerator, launched an initiative to cultivate food and ag startups. Food Labs is likely the first of several verticals to come.

Rabbithole: WeWork needs a win.

SmileDirectClub taps JPMorgan for its upcoming IPO

SmileDirectClub, which has raised $400m and was last valued at $3.2B,   picked JPMorgan to guide its IPO. Pearly white smiles are big business — competitor Invisalign has a market cap of more than $20B.

Rabbithole: The crooked world of orthodontia startups.

Design software startup Sketch raises $20m

The 7-year-old European company makes collaborative design tools for small businesses. “Design thinking” is hot right now: Competitors InVision and Figma recently raised $115m and $40m, respectively.  

Rabbithole: Design thinking — the birth of a buzzword.

Flight of the Facebook execs

FB lost 2 of its main execs on the same day: Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, and Chris Daniels, the VP of WhatsApp, both left Zuckbook after disagreeing with Zuckerberg’s new emphasis on privacy.

Rabbithole: Is Zuckerberg’s privacy priority legit?

Uber continues to bolster its self-driving unit

Uber is in talks with big funders like SoftBank and Toyota to raise around $1B for its autonomous vehicle unit. If it happens, Uber’s self-driving wing valuation could reach $10B.

Rabbithole: In the world of AV, you gotta pay to play.

AI photo startup raises $11.5m Series A

Polarr, the Bay Area photography startup that uses machine learning and AI to improve image editing, announced it has raised an $11.5m Series A led by Threshold Ventures.

Rabbithole: Cameras are getting crazy, y’all.

Essential sales climb in the run-up to potential Brexit ‘no-deal’

Sales of toilet paper, painkillers, and many other essential goods are up 7% at Morrisons, the UK’s 4th largest supermarket chain, as Brits stockpile goods in anticipation of future food and supply shortages.

Rabbithole: So, Brexit… now what?

In other markets…

In anticipation of a Brexit ‘no-deal,’ sales of toilet paper and pain killers are up 7% 

Turns out leaving a Union is a bit more complicated than ditching a lease on a studio apartment.

With just 16 days to go until the UK is due to leave, Britain has still not agreed on the withdrawal arrangement, raising the risk of a contentious “no-deal” that could lead to food and supply shortages.

In anticipation of the worst, Brits are stocking up on the essentials — and it’s paying dividends for supermarkets. According to Morrisons, Britain’s 4th-largest grocery chain, the company has seen a 7% uptick in goods like toilet rolls, painkillers, and other must-haves.

A sh*tty deal on both sides, unless you’re a supermarket

From 2018 to February 2019, Morrisons reported a 9% rise in pretax profit to $533m.

The company, which trails other European Union market leaders like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda in annual sales, said total revenue rose 2.7% to $22.5B.

Morrison’s CEO David Potts said the company was even considering alternative routes to import goods if its usual supply lines are delayed.

But, don’t let these numbers fool you

Chains like Morrisons are feeling the Brexit pinch just like their shoppers. As people tighten spending on more expensive purchases, it’s once again discounters like Aldi and Lidl that are coming back to haunt them.  

For Morrisons, lower profits from property sales and other exceptional items brought overall profits down nearly 16% to $424m

» TP or not TP…
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Yes, Qween → shower thoughts
  1. Struggling to get to sleep is proof that you can practice something every day of your life and still suck at it
  2. Seeing your password uncensored feels like accidentally seeing someone naked.
  3. A parachute shop will never get negative review from the buyer.
  4. If you played tag as a kid somebody is still it.
  5. Dogs are the bark of the family tree.
  6. via Reddit
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