Numlock News: April 4, 2023 • Black Market, Rings of Power, Wrestlemania
By Walt Hickey
It’s a transitional time for the Windsor fandom, the group of predominantly British obsessives who follow the ins and outs of a family of prominent German landlords. Powerful individuals within the government of the United Kingdom have inexplicably indulged this group of stans by featuring prominent paterfamilias from the clan on things like money, and ministers are now under scrutiny for allocating £8 million to offer every public body in the U.K. a portrait of the newest figurehead. The fellow in question is a guy named Charles, who previously was best known for property management in Wales and for being the father-in-law of an actress from the television program Suits, which ran on USA Network from 2011 to 2019. Local councils, courts, schools, and more are all eligible for a free picture of the septuagenarian lessor at the expense of the government.
Attendance for both nights of Wrestlemania hit 161,892 and set single-day records each night for SoFi Stadium in Los Angles. The event smashed a record for highest gate at a Wrestlemania, bringing in $21.6 million at the door — 27 percent higher than the previous record — and logging $21 million in sponsorships, double the previous record. The event concluded with no change in title when it comes to the champion, but within hours of the night ending the WWE sold half the company to Endeavor, the talent agency that also owns the UFC.
While vinyl gets most of the attention when it comes to old music distribution mediums coming back in a big way, the workhorse CD is also getting some heat. CD sales peaked at $13.2 billion in 2000, and CD unit sales fell from 40.6 million in 2021 to 35.9 million units in 2022. However, as of the first 10 weeks of 2023, sales are up 2.5 percent, with 6.9 million CDs selling. One reason is that vinyl has been beset by all kinds of production delays and supply chain problems, while the production of CDs is much easier and reliable: It costs about $150 to manufacture 100 CDs, but $1,500 to make the same number of vinyl albums.
Rings of Power
Amazon has bet big on The Lord of the Rings license, plowing a fortune into the production of their show The Rings of Power, which is a prequel to the story that most fans are familiar with. However, the show is on uneven footing based on internal numbers that the streaming business watches very, very closely: the completion rate of a show. That’s how many people who start a program go on to finish watching it; a 50 percent rate is considered solid, and higher rates of completion are how shows get second seasons and low rates are how they get cancelled. The Rings of Power has a second season greenlit, but that defies the abnormally low completion rate. In the domestic market, the show reportedly had a completion rate of just 37 percent.
Demand for chicken sandwiches in restaurants has changed significantly over the past several years, and it’s changing the kinds of birds restaurants want to buy. Breaded chicken sandwiches were just 24.7 percent of burger and chicken sandwich sales at restaurants in 2019, a ratio that in 2022 jumped to 28 percent. That may seem a slight shift, but when you’re talking an aggregate of hundreds of millions of mouths, it can legitimately alter demand on a national level. Restaurant companies are now looking more often at chickens that weigh roughly 4 pounds, a much smaller bird than the typical chickens demanded, as in 2021 just 19.7 percent of chickens slaughtered were less than 4.25 pounds.
Hagerty Insurance has long served the classic car collector crowd, insuring about 2.2 million cars today, but lately has pushed a significant expansion into all elements of the classic car world, rolling up auctioning, storage, transportation, a magazine, and about a half-dozen classic car events, as well as a peer-to-peer rental service and an online classified section. It’s a fascinating niche, with an estimated 43 million collectible vehicles, and the prices are going up, with values up 190 percent over the past decade.
Black Market Tags
New York City has lots of cars with temporary license plates on them that were sold to the users by unscrupulous dealerships in name only, which can be used to make a car untraceable and avoid tolls and fines. The sellers of the temp tags can make a fortune off it — one guy who sold 200 temp tags through his New Jersey dealership made $18,200 for his labors, and there are hundreds of them out there. State data and documents turned up 109 car dealers in Georgia and New Jersey that had been caught violating temp tag regulations that pumped out over 275,000 of them since 2019, and Streetsblog found another 25 dealers in the two states that don’t really resemble normal car businesses but nevertheless cranked out 67,000 temp tags last year alone.
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