Numlock News: December 20, 2022 • Dog Names, Epic Games, Trans-Siberian Orchestra
By Walt Hickey
The hottest holiday ticket for the past several years has been the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tour, which runs a few weeks of the year in the lead-up to the holidays and has banked hundreds of millions. To date, the act has grossed $683.2 million on the road since kicking off a tour in 1999. That year, the act played just seven shows in five cities and drew an audience of 12,000, but it’s snowballed into a juggernaut, and over the subsequent run it’s moved 13.5 million tickets. That’s only been heating up lately. In 2019 TSO moved 1,016,000 tickets across 109 dates for $66.8 million, last year they reaped $54.6 million across 98 shows, and as of the end of November of this year the Trans-Siberian Orchestra had already made $15.6 million from 27 shows.
It was a bumper year for maple syrup production in Canada, where producers have made 79.1 million litres of maple syrup. To translate for Americans, that’s 20.9 million gallons of a fascinating tree-based alternative to high-fructose corn syrup. The maple syrup harvest is up 53.8 percent over 2021, and is the highest yield on record. Quebec was responsible for 91 percent of that figure with the province claiming to a produit 72,3 millions de litres de sirop d'érable, which to translate for English-speaking Canadians means it produced 72.3 million litres of maple syrup, which to once again translate for Americans means it made 19.1 million gallons.
A new analysis compared the names of 61,000 dogs available for adoption on Petfinder with the baby name records of the Social Security Administration to determine how common it was that dogs have funny little human names. About 1 out of 7 dogs on Petfinder have a name that is also commonly given to human babies. I happen to have one of them: Walter is the name of 17.4 out of every 10,000 Americans and yet also 5.6 out of every 10,000 dogs up for adoption on Petfinder. Other names that are rather split between human and dog include Cody, Bruce and Olivia (which are still more common among people) and Joy, Zoe, Sam and Chase (which are in fact more common among dogs). The name “Hunter” straddles the line between man and dog, not unlike Tim Allen in the film The Shaggy Dog. Human names that have nearly fully been won over by canines include Bruno, Romeo, Bella, Rex and Max.
In what is the largest customer refund ever issued in history, Epic Games will refund $245 million in unwanted charges stemming from Fortnite, on top of another $275 million penalty for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The FTC alleged Epic allowed children and teens to interact with adult strangers online without requiring parental consent, and has known this since at least 2017 when internal employees began flagging issues with default settings. The FTC also claimed Epic fooled millions of players into making purchases unintentionally and let children rack up lots and lots of unauthorized charges, hence the refunds for the parents of children who made unnecessary purchases from January 2017 to November 2018.
Christie’s, the auction house that focuses predominantly on art and luxury goods, reported a banner year, with auction sales hitting $7.2 billion and private sales another $1.2 billion, a record. Sales in fine art were up 21 percent, luxury good auctions were up 2 percent, classics were up 37 percent, while Asian art was down 20 percent. Sales in the Americas were up 73 percent to $4.55 billion, while sales in Asia were down 20 percent to $833 million.
While the botched rollout of the Taylor Swift “The Eras” tour on Ticketmaster has raised national ire at the injustices of ticketing platforms, Americans who require wheelchair spaces have pointed out it’s illustrative of issues that they’ve faced for years. Even when venues meet the minimum requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act, an 80,000-seat venue like the ones Swift will headline in only need to have a minimum of 411 wheelchair spaces to be ADA-compliant, which is 0.5 percent of the seats in an arena. And if getting the perfect seats isn’t hard enough already, those seats also get targeted by scalpers because the ADA forbids venues from requiring that ADA-compliant seats be resold to other people with disabilities. As a result, ADA-compliant seats were available immediately on resale markets for as much as $5,400.
Seen, Read, Heard
Morning Consult’s annual analysis of the news stories that the most Americans had heard about is out, with the top three stories of the year — the Uvalde shooting, the fall of Roe, and the death of Queen Elizabeth II — all reaching over 70 percent of Americans. Each week, pollsters will ask respondents how much they have seen, read or heard about a given news item before polling it, and by looking at the percentage of respondents that say “a lot” to that question we can gauge how penetrating that story is. Interestingly, though, the average salience of a news event in a given year is down significantly over the past several years. In 2022, the average news event polled by Morning Consult had 29 percent of respondents saying they’d heard “a lot” about it. In 2018, that was 39 percent.
This week in the Sunday edition, I spoke to Cameron Easley of Morning Consult all about that Seen, Read, Heard year-end feature! It’s a five-year tradition at this point to wrap up the year talking about that year-end poll analysis, and this year Cameron was kind enough to come on and dive in. It’s a great read, check it out. Cameron can be found at @Cameron_Easley and Morning Consult.
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