Money

When it seems like things can't get worse for MoviePass, they do

When it seems like things can't get worse for MoviePass, they do

Just last October, Helios and Matheson — the parent company of MoviePass, a movie subscription service that initially let users see unlimited movies for $9.95 per month — was celebrating a 52-week high stock price of $38.86. People loved the service and it was expecting to have five million subscribers by the end of 2018, hitting three million in June. The concept of MoviePass — unlimited movies at a set price each month — disrupted the movie industry, sparking the launch of AMC’s Stubs A-List, Cinemark Movie Club and Sinemia.

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US shoppers are expected to spend more than ever this holiday season, hitting $1 trillion

US shoppers are expected to spend more than ever this holiday season, hitting $1 trillion

In the US customers could spend more than $1 trillion during the holiday season, according to market research firm eMarketer, the first time retail sales have surpassed this amount.This will be a 5.8 percent increase from 2017 when consumers spent a total of 947.55 million between 1 Nov. and 31 Dec. The lowest unemployment rates since 1970, steady incomes and higher consumer confidence are being credited for this hike in spending — and because retailers won’t be passing on price increases due to Donald Trump’s tariffs until next year, this means spending will remain strong.

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The least sexy thing about Victoria's Secret is its insensitivity

The least sexy thing about Victoria's Secret is its insensitivity

The Victoria’s Secret televised runway show has been the biggest and most successful event the company has put on since it began in 1995 — with people watching it for the star-studded performances, spectacle of supermodels dressed as “angels”, or for the small intimates being strutted down the runway.However, the company is struggling under pressure from millennial-oriented brands like ThirdLove and American Eagle’s Aerie division and in July, announced that due to weak sales, it would have to extend its semi-annual sale by two weeks and offer higher discounts. It’s also closing 20 stores that are suffering from poor sales and has seen its stock drop from an all-time high of $99.41 on December 4, 2015 to an average of $30.

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Forget Black Friday — Single's Day is the biggest shopping event in the world

Forget Black Friday — Single's Day is the biggest shopping event in the world

When midnight hit on 11 November, the world’s biggest shopping event began — not Black Friday as some people might rightly assume, but Single’s Day, a Chinese shopping extravaganza. Started in 1993 as a day for university students to celebrate being single, it was then soon promoted by Alibaba’s Tmall service, transforming into a massive 20-day shopping festival.

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The economics of how low-budget airlines are so inexpensive

The economics of how low-budget airlines are so inexpensive

It seems incredible how cheap plane tickets can be on so-called low-cost airlines — $35 for a week in Barcelona, Budapest or Milan, $153 to Moscow or $437 to New York City. These airlines, usually based in Europe, can offer vastly lower prices than their competitors by slashing costs at every possible turn, while still making a healthy profit in the process. Low-cost airlines are dangerous for traditional companies that have been around for a long time because, by simply setting up a route along the same path as them, they force fares to drop which cuts into profits of the larger airline.

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Netflix is dominating the media streaming industry, as evident from its latest financials

Netflix is dominating the media streaming industry, as evident from its latest financials

During its Q3 report Netflix announced that it not only crushed, but obliterated investor’s estimates for the number of subscribers it would add this quarter, adding nearly 7 million new subscribers during the period. This number is higher than the company itself expected and brings the total number of subscribers the company has to more than 137 million, according to official documents. The company needed to beat estimates this quarter to keep Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney’s highly-anticipated streaming service, which is set to launch by the end of 2019 at bay. Netflix failed to meet its Q2 subscriber estimates of 1.23 million domestically and 5.11 internationally, adding only 670,000 and 4.47 million respectively, and needed to make up for the missed targets.

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Without permission, MoviePass is signing customers up for its new plans in its latest move against its userbase

Cinema movie ticketing startup MoviePass isn’t actually dead yet, but there’s been signs for the last few months that it was fighting to stay afloat, from shutting down overnight because of a lack of funding to nuking its unlimited plan and being hit with a shareholder lawsuit over fraud. According to The Verge, the company is now sending emails to a “select test group” of customers who didn’t opt-in to the limited three movie per month plan that it forced users onto, saying that unless users opted out of the service — something they’d already done to cancel their membership — it would be reactivating their plan on a special unlimited plan and charging them $9.95 per month.

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The economics of Nike's Air Jordan product line, explained

The economics of Nike's Air Jordan product line, explained

The Air Jordan line started in 1984 when basketball player Michael Jordan signed a deal with Nike to launch a lineup of shoes, offering him $250,000 to be associated with the brand. Though Adidas offered him double that amount of money, he stuck with Nike — they had offered him a percentage of the revenue of the shoes and promised that if he didn’t earn $3 million in the first 3 years of the partnership, he could exit the deal. This series of shoes is a main driver in Nike’s massive profits, and it’s clear that the deal is still paying off for both parties more than three decades later. Nike reporting sales of the Jordan brand separately for the first time in 2016, growing by 18 percent to $2.8 billion during that year.

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MoviePass is alienating current users instead of searching for a source of income

MoviePass is alienating current users instead of searching for a source of income

Struggling movie subscription service MoviePass sent an email to users today who hold annual subscriptions, forcing them into the same terms as other members and offering refunds to those who want to cancel their memberships. The change comes as an odd move by the company since typically, companies only change service terms for users once they reach their renewal dates. MoviePass subscribers have, until now, been immune to all the changes the company has been making but now it seems like they're out of luck.

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Google is slowly creeping up on Amazon in the smart speaker market

Google is slowly creeping up on Amazon in the smart speaker market

Since introducing the first modern smart speaker a couple years ago with the Echo product line, Amazon has maintained a steady dominance in the market. The company sold an estimated 4.8 million Echo devices between April and June, beating Google by 1.6 million units. However, Google has been gaining ground on its closest rival, growing its market share from 16.1 percent in Q2 2017 to 27.6 percent in the same quarter one year later. Apple's recently introduced HomePod speaker isn't even a true competitor to the two companies, only shipping an estimated 700,000 units between April and the end of June.

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Elon Musk's tweets about taking Tesla private could land him in hot water with the SEC

Elon Musk's tweets about taking Tesla private could land him in hot water with the SEC

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was sued twice on Friday by investors accusing him of fraudulently concocting a scheme to squeeze short-sellers, including through Musk's proposal to take the company public. The lawsuits were filed only three days after shocking investors by announcing on Twitter that he was considering taking the company public in a $72 billion USD deal that would value it at $420 per share, detailing that funding had already been secured.

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MoviePass was down this week because it ran out of money

MoviePass was down this week because it ran out of money

Though the signs have been apparent for a while now, MoviePass has refused to admit defeat — from major stock drops and constant financial issues to a surge of new users eating away at profits — until this week when the service suddenly went dark because it ran out of money. To keep customers happy and the service running, parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. had to borrow an emergency $5 million from Hudson Bay.

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Facebook stocks have slipped post-scandal and the company is still under immense pressure

Facebook stocks have slipped post-scandal and the company is still under immense pressure

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has noted in previous earning reports that the company would take a hit as it adds more content moderation in a massive hiring spree to control bad information on the platform, alongside improvements to interactions between friends and family, versus from brands and other organizations. The company's CFO, David Wehner, indicated that it would likely continue to have a "negative impact on revenue growth" in the coming quarters as it continues to deal with crisis after crisis.

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The EU just slapped Google with a staggering $5 billion antitrust fine

Legal regulators in the European Union just hit Google with a record €4.34-billion, or $6.7 billion CAD antitrust fine on Wednesday for using its Android operating system in a way that prevents competitors from competing with the company. Though the fine barely puts a dent in its cash reserves totalling more than $102.8 billion, it could hinder relations between the EU and Washington.Google has announced it will appeal the fine, stating that “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition."

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Experts are concerned that Amazon is becoming a monopoly and Prime Day is proof of it

Experts are concerned that Amazon is becoming a monopoly and Prime Day is proof of it

Yesterday was Amazon Prime Day, the e-commerce giant's fictitious summer shopping holiday that draws millions of its loyal subscribers to purchase products at a discount and even more people to sign up for the service. The day is a big deal to shoppers but is worrying to critics — the company sells so many different products and attracts millions of loyal shoppers that it invented its own version of Black Friday, dictated that businesses have to offer discounts on that day and forced other companies, such as Walmart and eBay, to follow suit.

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Customers are hurting Walmart with the #BoycottWalmart movement because they don't understand how the company works

Trump supporters are angry flooding the internet with the #BoycottWalmart hashtag after discovering baby clothing with "Impeach 45" written on them. The current president is the 45th US president and though the clothing items were on the website for an unknown amount of time, its since been taken down. Furious supporters of Trump see the clothing as evidence that Walmart is on the left side of the political spectrum, or that it is trying to send a message to the public. Oddly enough, this isn't the company's wrongdoing necessarily — it's a misunderstanding on the public's part of how Walmart's online website works.

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Seattle is repealing the proposed head tax it was going to fight homelessness with

Seattle is repealing the proposed head tax it was going to fight homelessness with

Just a month ago, Seattle proposed a tax on large companies making over $20 million per year — affecting around 585 businesses in the city and costing them $0.26 per hour, per employee. These businesses, including Amazon, Starbucks, Expedia and Alaska Airlines would pay the government a maximum of $500 for each person employed, per year, with 75 percent of the money going towards affordable housing and the rest aimed at helping the homeless. However, the proposal is now being repealed after the city faced pressure from numerous businesses to do so. The city leaders abandoning the head tax goes to show how powerful Amazon is in rallying opposition against taxes from all levels of government, even in a city with one of the highest homelessness rates in the US.

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Netflix is now worth more than media conglomerate Comcast

Netflix is now worth more than media conglomerate Comcast

When the company was founded more than 20 years ago, its biggest competitors were Blockbuster because the streaming service we know today did not exist. Instead, Netflix made money by renting out already-produced movies to consumers for relatively low rates. Today, the company has gone from delivering physical movies to becoming one of the largest purchasers and producers of TV series and movies in the world. Netflix will spend more than $8 billion on original content in 2018, up from the $6 billion it spent in 2017.

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