Numlock News: January 26, 2021 • Venom, Algae, Budweiser
By Walt Hickey
AMC Theaters announced Monday that they have raised $917 million in financing since December 14, a pool of funds that should keep the cinema alive through this summer. Just over half comes from a sale of 164.7 million shares, while another $411 million is from debt that’s due to be paid up by 2023. Right now 438 of AMC’s 593 locations in the United States are open, but among the ones that remain closed are locations in the major domestic markets of New York City and Los Angeles. Regardless of where doors may be open, attendance is down 92.3 percent compared to 2019. That all said, the near-billion rainy day fund is enough to pay AMC’s leases through July.
Elective cosmetic procedures have had a rollercoaster of a pandemic. At first, people locked down and AbbVie, the company that owns Botox, reported in July a quarterly decline in revenue of 43.1 percent year-over-year to $226 million. Then, when people realized that a new social contract enabled — no, promoted — covering your face at all times in public, they came around to the idea that maybe it was time to nab an appointment, and by October quarterly earnings were down just 2.2 percent year-over-year to $393 million in net revenues from Botox. Now, in January, practices are reporting a boom in Botox — one practice in Colorado said the procedure is up 40 percent compared to last January.
The WWE has reached a deal with NBC, and now the independent streaming service WWE Network will fold into the offerings of Peacock, the Comcast streaming service. As of late 2020, WWE Network had an average of 1.6 million paid subscribers, up 6 percent year-over-year but down 60,000 from the previous quarter. The streaming service started in 2014 when the WWE ended its pay-per-view business, and served as a direct-to-consumer platform for WWE material, housing about 17,000 hours of programming. This now means that Peacock will have all WWE live events for no additional charge, and will allow for NBC and WWE to continue their bold legacy of innovation. So, I guess they’ll just bring Undertaker back and have him fight a Minion or something.
Spitting cobras shoot jets of venom into the eyes of attackers, and a new study finds evidence that their venom specifically evolved to be more effective and painful than normal, nonspitting cobras. The spitting cobras can nail a face from over 2 meters away, and that ability has manifested independently three different times — in Asian cobras, African cobras, and rinkhals in southern Africa. The study analyzed venoms of 17 types of cobras, spitting and nonspitting, and found that in both types of snakes three-finger toxins made up about 60 percent of the toxic stuff. The unique thing about the spitters is that they also contained lots of phospholipase A2 proteins, which exist to amplify pain, and as a result their venom stimulated twice as many (incredibly unlucky) mouse nerves.
From January through October 2020, Anheuser-Busch spent $80.2 million advertising Budweiser on television sports broadcasts, down from $140.5 million over the same period of 2019, a dip of 42 percent. In keeping with that decline, for the first time in decades, the beer manufacturer will not advertise Budweiser during this year’s Super Bowl game, and instead will contribute that ad spend towards the Ad Council, which makes public service announcements. They’re still running four minutes of advertising for Bud Light, their Seltzer and whatever’s happening with Michelob these days, and it’s actually not entirely clear that on balance they’re cutting their ad spend at all. Anheuser spent $41 million on last year’s Super Bowl, and single-handedly accounted for an average of 10 percent of Super Bowl ad revenue over the past five broadcasts. CBS has yet to announce that it’s sold out of commercial inventory, despite the game being less than two weeks away. Man, if you’re a Clydesdale though, this is like when they had all those Cold War Olympics boycotts.
Market Data Forecast projects that the market for food ingredients based on algae will increase annually at a rate of 8.2 percent from 2020 to 2025. Both Unilever and Nestle have cut deals with algae companies to make new ingredients, and the flavor arms dealers of the food business — companies like ADM and Bühler that you’ve never heard of, but whose work you probably consume daily — are working with more algae now, given that it’s full of nutrients, sustainable as heck and increasingly easy to wrangle on an industrial scale. What algae needs is a makeover, a rebranding as something like “Phytality” or “chloro-YUMS” or “McArchaeas.” We did it for “canola oil” and “hot dogs,” I bet we can do it for pond scum.
A new study published in Cryosphere calculates that the planet lost 28 trillion tons of ice between 1994 and 2017, an unfathomable quantity of ice destroyed at the rate of 800 billion metric tons of ice per year annually through the 1990s and about 1.2 trillion tons of ice per year today. The majority of these losses were driven by climate change. Since the ‘90s, 6 trillion tons have been lost from mountain glaciers, 2.6 trillion tons from Antarctica and 4 trillion tons of ice from Greenland. The Arctic sea ice has shrunk by 230 billion tons each year since 1980, according to satellite data and ocean models. Since the 1990s, the rate of ice loss has increased at least 57 percent, according to the study.
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