Thursday, December 1, 2022

BIG Wrap

Streaming results for Disney+ are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Walt Disney Co.'s venture into the streaming world has been an incredible journey. In its quarterly update this week, Disney+ announced it has reached almost 95 million subscribers in 15 months. Its projection at launch in the fall of 2019 – between 60 million and 90 million by 2024. Its updated forecast – between 230 million and 260 million by 2024. As CNET reports, those numbers are toppling even Netflix numbers.   https://www.cnet.com/news/disney-plus-hits-94-9-million-subscribers/

Shell bumps up its move toward carbon neutrality

Royal Dutch Shell has been one of the world's biggest players in the oil industry since it was formed early in the 20th century. The company has reiterated its commitment to become carbon zero by 2050 with the announcement it will close some refineries and gradually decrease production of gasoline. Shell has also indicated that it intends to become a major supplier of hydrogen.   https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56022908

Jean therapy: sales drop has Levi’s sweating

Who would have believed that the much beloved product line of Levi's blue jeans would be transitioning to lounge wear. It seems that is one result of the shift to working-at-home during the pandemic era.  Levi Strauss & Co. president and CEO, Chip Bergh, conceded, as the company reported on fourth-quarter earnings, that "casualization" , i.e., loungewear, is taking a noticeable bite out of the sales of jeans.    https://www.businessinsider.com/levis-q4-2020-earnings-denim-sales-down-pandemic-loungewear-interest-2021-1

Does anyone else have that 2008 feeling?

You would think following the implosion of the financial sector in the late 2000s, that the lessons of sub-prime lending by banks would have left a great enough imprint to halt such practices. Banks offered mortgages to unqualified customers and bundled those mortgages for sale as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs. As we know, that blew up in their faces. Yet it is still happening, according to Frank Partnoy in The Atlantic. Partnoy, who worked in...

Heineken workforce takes major hit from pandemic

The closure of pubs across the world has made its way up the alcoholic beverage production chain to workers at Heineken, the world's second largest brewer. The Amsterdam-based company has announced that it will downsize by about 10% or almost 8,000 jobs. Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink said that global vaccination is the only way customers will drink enough beer for the company to get back to normal production.   From <https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55984400>

Volkswagen’s robo-taxi hopes are sky high

Volkswagen AG, based in Hamburg, Germany is testing the waters, or rather, testing the atmosphere, of autonomous flying taxis in China. VW said it is interested in the potential of adapting autonomous driving technology to aerial vehicles and that the Chinese market would be ripe for such a product and service. As Reuters points out, VW believes the concept is worth pursuing.   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-volkswagen-china-autonomous/volkswagen-explores-flying-cars-in-china-idUSKBN2A91QG

Is Elon Musk dragging bitcoin into the mainstream?

There's much discussion surrounding uber-entrepreneur Elon Musk's startling US$1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin on behalf of Tesla Inc. The company also announced that consumers soon will be able to pay for its electric vehicles using cryptocurrency. Musk's massive influence has helped drive up cryptocurrency value, but not everyone is on board with the Tesla plunge as Fortune Magazine points out: https://fortune.com/2021/02/08/tesla-buys-bitcoin-elon-musk-tsla-btc/

There’s a new buzzword in town: terrapy

Consumer trend firm "Trendwatching" says that "carbon neutrality" and "sustainable" are out. "Regenerative" and "terrapy" are now the terms preferred by consumers to refer to efforts to conserve and rehabilitate our planet. Trendwatching provides updates on, what else, industry and consumer trends. In its latest update, Trendwatching reports that major companies such as General Mills and multinational food products company Danone have turned their focus to revitalizing soil through regenerative practices.   https://info.trendwatching.com/make-shift/issue-5?utm_campaign=2021%3A%20MS%20Terrapy&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=110277924&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8_YVo5aYc3i-PWq4d-6hPUNWvMnOceSdkwri_whL4UN_S5pN8UEBO5khZlkEGUawlc0c_ByrryPGBYaOtbN1_f5u4wMQ&utm_content=110277924&utm_source=hs_email

COVID-19-fuelled research could spark wider benefits

The pandemic fueled by the COVID-19 virus has disrupted economies and lives. It's hard to imagine that anything positive could emerge from such a crisis, but pharmaceutical researchers believe the urgency to develop vaccines to combat the virus could result in major advancements towards the fight against many other threatening diseases. Here's an optimistic look from MIT's Technology Review: https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/02/05/1017366/messenger-rna-vaccines-covid-hiv/

It’s your funeral, as they say, but is it?

Is it safe to say most of us avoid talking about the topic of funerals? Makes one kind of uncomfortable, right? Considering that every single one of us will experience funeral arrangements in some way or another, maybe it should be a topic of conversation. For instance, why does it cost so much money to put a hole in the ground? Tune into this relevant discussion from Slate about funeral practices that could open...