🎙 Twitter's pod-cquisition

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Trolls World Tour, or Twitter Audio Spaces?

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Hey Snackers,

There's no immunity to love: a nurse was about to administer his boyfriend's Covid vaccine, when he found an engagement ring taped on his arm.

Stocks jumped as US investors awaited election results from key Georgia races, which will determine which party controls the Senate.

Podular
1. Twitter buys "social podcasting" app Breaker to help build its audio platform

Nano vibes... Podcasts are as old as the 2004 iPod — the term is actually a mashup of "iPod" and "broadcast." But the Big Pod Boom came more recently: global monthly podcast listeners grew from 287M in 2016 to 1B+ in 2020 — and they're expected to hit 1.85B in 2023. Audio streamers can profit more from pods than from songs, since they don't have to give record labels a cut. That's partly why:

  • Spotify has shelled out $700M+ over the past two years to buy pod-related companies like The Ringer and Parcast.
  • Apple, the pod OG, is reportedly amping up efforts to produce Apple-original podcasts. It now hosts over 1M podcasts, nearly double from 2018.
  • Amazon is snatching up podcast network Wondery to make Amazon Music more pod-pular.

@ me (in my ears)... Now Twitter is buying social pod app Breaker, which lets users comment on episodes and follow friends. The actual Breaker app is getting shut down this month, and Twitter is getting Breaker's staff and tech (so: more like an acquihire). It'll use the fresh talent to help with its new audio-based social project, "Twitter Spaces." Because we can't wait to hear Twitter out loud.

THE TAKEAWAY

Podcasting needs a social breakthrough... Podcasts have communities of listeners, but they're one-way convos. You have to go to a social network (cough, like Twitter) to try to engage. Barely $1B/year is spent on pod ads, because targeting on pods is way less precise than social targeting. If Twitter's audio Spaces can can bring social + pods together, that could significantly boost ad sales both for pods and for Twitter.

Baba

Phew... Alibaba stock jumped ~6% yesterday on news that its multibillionaire founder Jack Ma is reportedly just lying low — not missing. Ma hasn't been seen in public since November, when he missed an appearance on... his own TV show. Ma went from being the only guy who couldn't land a job at KFC, to one of the most well-known businessmen in the world — with a $650B company to boot (Alibaba, aka: "Amazon of China"). But now his "babies" are in trouble...

  • Ant: In November, Ma's huge fintech Ant Group was set to go public in the largest IPO ever. Unrelated: Ma publicly criticized Chinese regulators for essentially killing innovation. Related: Chinese regulators indefinitely suspended Ant's IPO (#squashed).
  • Baba: Last month, China launched an anti-monopoly probe targeting Alibaba, which owns 33% of Ant.

B(old) choice of words... China was likely not thrilled to have its financial regulations referred to as "an old people's club" — which Ma reportedly did at that fateful conference in Shanghai. But comments like that aren't illegal, and can't be the basis for a suspended IPO or an investigation... Or can they?

THE TAKEAWAY

Chinese companies' #1 stakeholder = the Chinese gov’t... Alibaba has over 750M customers, and Ant has over 1B users. This story is a reminder that no matter how huge a company gets, China doesn't necessarily need to justify itself to reign it in. If anything, the massive scale of those companies can make China even more keen on keeping a hand on the wheel: according to Chinese officials, Beijing is trying to shrink Ma's empire and potentially take a larger stake in his businesses.

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Choco: Snack legend Mondelez (see: Oreos, Ritz) agrees to buy fancy paleo chocolate maker Hu at a reported $340M valuation.
  • Bubu: FuboTV stock soared after the sports streamer announced expectation-beating (preliminary) quarterly sales after a days-long sell-off.
  • Shift: GM's US sales fell nearly 12% in 2020, but jumped nearly 5% last quarter — good sign for the auto industry after a terrible 2020.
  • Streamy: ViacomCBS strikes a distribution deal with Disney's Hulu that'll make 14 channels, including Nickelodeon, available on Hulu + Live TV.
  • Depart: Bloomingdale's owner Macy's is shuttering 45 more locations this year, as part of its three-year store closure plan.

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Snacks Daily Podcast

In 2019, Popeyes launched Chicken Sandwich War I with its spicy chicken legend. Now, Chicken Sandwich War II is upon us...

  • Shake Shack just dropped its Korean-style Fried Chick'n Sandwich.
  • McDonald’s is reloading its buns with three new chicken sandwiches.

Tune in to find out why this could signal the end of ad-pocalypse.

Wednesday

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Apple

ID: 1467967

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