Numlock News: February 9, 2023 • Funemployment, Whales, Ghost Ship
By Walt Hickey
Blood and Honey
Next week the parody horror film Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey will release on 1,500 screens in the United States. That peculiar sentence is the result of several different trends in the movie business right now. First, horror remains reliable even at low costs, and the film is angling to make back its budget — reportedly less than $100,000 — many times over, as seen by the fact that it’s already made $700,000 in its release in Mexico, where it debuted at number four. Second, there’s that dearth of movies at the actual cinema, which is freeing up all these screens for a cheapo, micro-budget horror while the big players dump all their stuff to streaming. Last, it’s that now-liberated I.P.: A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh entered the public domain last year, so now this spectacle gets to tap into the shock factor.
The MV Onda is a ship anchored in Senegal that has been seized by four seafarers who allege that they’ve been abandoned on the ship without pay for months at the Port of Dakar anchorage in violation of the Maritime Labour Convention of 2006. The ship is without engine and power and the International Transport Workers Federation, which is acting on behalf of the sailors in court, said that port authorities have ignored requests for help for over a year. The ITF said the ghost ship will remain seized until the seafarers are paid the $84,000 in wages they are owed.
Whales, the largest creatures on the planet, are still really hard to track with satellites. In the event a whale surfaces while the sharpest civilian satellite is taking a photo, a 12.5-meter North Atlantic right whale will still only be a smudge of 83 pixels, and given that a photo could cover 200 square kilometers we’re talking a 12.5-meter needle in a very large haystack. It’s harder even still depending on the species, like the southern right whales that are still very much the color of water, or how humpbacks are often hard to find amid the splashes they produce when surfacing. It was only last year that a researcher was able to identify a specific whale — a North Atlantic right whale named Ruffian — from an image taken in space.
A Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Bloomberg last month gauged how people would react in the event they found themselves laid off, and found that fascinating numbers of workers would be pretty cool with getting pink slipped, taking that severance, and getting out of dodge. Indeed 18 percent of the youngest respondents — Gen Z adults — reported that they would feel happy about a layoff, as well as 15 percent of millennials. Given the fairly hot job market right now — in December there were 1.9 job openings per unemployed people — it appears that some folks could stomach a spell of funemployment.
Charlie Wells, Claire Ballentine and Paulina Cachero, Bloomberg
Much of the developing world is shifting toward digital wallets, which according to the World Bank have seen users increase from 35 percent of adults in the developing world in 2014 to 57 percent in 2021, predominantly in Africa and Asia. Iraq has missed out on that; there are several e-payment platforms for Iraqi consumers, including 17 licensed digital wallet companies and 15 licenses for e-payments, but all told consumers are more reluctant to adopt digitized payments. On Miswag, an Iraqi e-commerce platform, just 2 percent of transactions are done with online payments, with the remaining 98 percent cash-on-delivery.
Winthrop Rodgers, Rest of World
Well well well well well, if it isn’t Bonhams, a 230-year-old auction house that is about to go up for sale. Look at you, so confidently overseeing the sale of countless high-end wines and fine art, and now you find yourself here, yourself consigned to a sale from the highest bidder. Bonhams is significantly smaller than the two auction houses that dominate the space, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, but nevertheless annual revenue was over $1 billion for the first time last year. Epiris, the private equity firm that owns the joint, is looking to value the company at roughly $1 billion.
Vinicy Chan, Jan-Henrik Foerster and Ruth David, Bloomberg
The Michael Jackson Estate is now nearing a sale of half of its interests in the artist’s catalog for an amount somewhere between $800 million and $900 million. Reportedly Sony and another financial backer are working to obtain 50 percent of the singer’s assets, which include not just publishing and recorded music revenue but also rights to the Broadway musical show and forthcoming biopic. Jackson was a formidable businessman in his time as well, and Sony bought the estate’s 50 percent stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 2016 for $750 million, and as part of the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2018 the company also bought the estate’s 25.1 percent stake for $287.5 million.
Thanks to the paid subscribers to Numlock News who make this possible. Subscribers guarantee this stays ad-free, and get a special Sunday edition. Consider becoming a full subscriber today.
Send links to me on Twitter at @WaltHickey or email me with numbers, tips or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send corrections or typos to the copy desk at email@example.com.
Check out the Numlock Book Club and Numlock award season supplement.
2022 Sunday subscriber editions: 2022 · NIMBY · Undersea Life · Bob vs Bob · Instant Delivery Curse · Monopoly · Twitter · Crypto · Rotoscope ·