Taking a Tumblr


May 6, 2019

Today, gamblers lose money and pro hockey players hang up their skates, but first…
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Tumblr’s long, strange tumble from the top

Last week, Verizon revealed plans to sell off Tumblr, the blog hosting platform it has owned since 2017. 

Once a fast-growing social media site in a league with Pinterest and Reddit, Tumblr has fumbled through multiple acquisitions. Now that it’s for sale again, it’s attracting some strange bidders… including the adult video giant, Pornhub.

A humbler Tumblr

Founded in 2006, Tumblr was on top of the world when it was acquired by Yahoo in 2013 for $1.1B: In April 2013, the site had 13B page views.

Today, Tumblr’s monthly page views have fallen to 420m. The company’s financial fortunes followed suit: In 2016, Yahoo wrote down Tumblr’s value to $230m — well less than ¼ of its former value.

So, how did Tumblr crumble?

Bad buyouts cause Tumblr’s stumbling

Tumblr rose to prominence as a place with few rules that allowed for freedom of self-expression, sexual and otherwise.

But then Tumblr sold to Yahoo (and, later, Yahoo sold to Verizon) — and users didn’t respond well. When the company first sold, nearly 170k circulated a petition of protest. Last December, when Tumblr banned adult content, its viewership dropped 17%.

Meanwhile, as Tumblr has declined, both Medium and Instagram have soared in popularity, giving former Tumblrs places to post.

Can anyone recover this Tumble?

It seems unlikely Tumblr will recapture its former glory.

But Pornhub seems undeterred, having courted Tumblr’s customers for months. When Tumblr made the controversial decision to ban adult content, the adult video site tweeted: “Tumblrs: Pornhub welcomes you with open arms.”

So far, no other companies have publicly expressed interest in buying the aging blogging platform. 

But, as TechCrunch reports, a Pornhub acquisition would be a bad deal for Tumblr’s once-open adult community — Pornhub parent MindGeek has a poor track record protecting porn performers.

The Tumblr fumble
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Sinclair shows Disney the money with giant sports network purchase

TV broadcasting giant, Sinclair Broadcast Group, will buy 21 regional sports networks from Disney in a $10.6B deal, WSJ reports

Disney was forced to sell off the regional networks as part of its $71B acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, after the Justice Department cited anti-competitive concerns with the ESPN owner.

The final price tag was considerably lower than analysts’ predictions (upwards of $25B). Only 2 other companies reportedly made bids — likely due in part to rising cable prices driving more viewers to opt for streaming sources over cable.

But Sinclair apparently isn’t sweating the cord-cutting

Already the nation’s biggest owner of local stations, Sinclair has been steadily beefing up its catalog (and its opportunities to offer bundling) with a mix of networks and streaming services. 

That portfolio includes Tennis Channel, 24/7 Stadium, and a new regional Chicago network. Sinclair is also acquiring the YES Network in partnership with the New York Yankees and Amazon for $3.45B.  

This recent Disney victory is a salve to the burn Sinclair suffered last year, when its attempted purchase of Tribune Media blew up.

» Movin’ the chains

The controversial Kentucky Derby finale created chaos for gamblers

On Saturday, a horse named Maximum Security won the Kentucky Derby — or so it appeared. But upon closer review, the result was overturned.

Maximum Security, which was a favorite to win the race with 9-2 odds, lost the title to a horse named Country House, which had 65-1 odds. The outcome shifted millions of dollars between bettors.

Bet you didn’t see that coming

In a tense, 20+ minute review process, race officials — called “stewards” — reviewed the video of the race and concluded that Maximum Security interfered with competitors.

Maximum Security’s disqualification — the first interference-based disqualification of an apparent victor in the 145-year history of the race — replaced a high likelihood winner with a longshot.

Lots of little losers and a few big winners

12x more people bet on Maximum Security than Country House.

But since Country House’s odd were the 2nd-longest in history, people who bet on Country House won big: $2.5k bets ended up paying $133k.

For some bettors, the result was a big deal. But for bookkeepers, it was business as usual. 

The same percentage (17.5%) of overall bets placed ends up with vendors and prize purses no matter which horse wins: In this case, $2.9m of $16.56m.

» Those odds are… odd

With players on strike, women’s professional ice hockey is on thin ice

Female pro hockey players from Canada and the US announced that they would sit out the upcoming season.

Until last week, there were 2 pro women’s hockey leagues in North America: the National Women’s Hockey League (based in the US) and The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (based in — you guessed it — Canada).

But after the CWHL closed last week, 200 players announced they would refuse to play in the NWHL — until it improves working conditions for its players.

Female hockey players are barely skating by

Players in pro women’s hockey don’t have health insurance, and some made as little as $2k per season, making it impossible to play full time.

But now, united under the banner of a hashtag (#ForTheGame), the best hockey-playing women in the world are insisting that women should not accept less than $25k to play professionally.

Some critics are calling upon the NHL to intervene to help keep women on the ice this coming season.

» Ouch. That’s cold.
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Look, see, do → kill your commute

A useful tip, trick, app, or habit to get the most out of your daily commute.

#1: Plan tonight’s dinner.

Ever get home only to realize you don’t know what to eat? Same. Try using apps like Pepperplate to find recipes and create a shopping list from your seat on the train. 

#2: Take a college course.

Browse The Great Courses to find top lectures from college professors.

Got a crazy commute story or a great tip? Tell us about it here. (You might just see it in our next send.)

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