Numlock News: May 8, 2020 • Nintendo, Fromage, Steaks
By Walt Hickey
Have a great weekend!
Former New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings legend Brett Favre said he will pay back $1.1 million that the Mississippi Community Education Center paid him. The story is peculiar: an audit of how Mississippi allocated federal money for needy families found $94 million that the commission alleges was spent improperly. Favre Enterprises was paid $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 out of the fund to compensate for appearances and speaking engagements, which there is no evidence actually occurred. Favre said he’s done ads for Families First and did not receive money for obligations he didn’t meet, but will return the money since the funds were not intended for the purpose. The $1.1 million in federal funds is the most controversial thing Favre has given up since Michael Strahan’s record-setting sack.
Generally speaking, beef producers make their profits on the steaks and lose money on cheaper cuts like ground beef and bottom round. All of a sudden, the math of meats is getting weird: ground beef chuck sold for $2.00 per pound at the beginning of the year, but the week of April 13 averaged $2.73 per pound. Meanwhile, a pound of ribeye fell from $6.27 at the beginning of the year and hit $5 per pound by mid-April. That price shift is, in part, due to producers taking roast cuts and putting them into ground beef just to keep up with demand. Technically, your salisbury steak could now very well be a bona fide steak that just went through some stuff, man.
Going To Georgia
Congratulations to teens in the state of Georgia who are making the best of a bad situation by getting their driver’s licenses without having to take a road test. Wednesday, the Department of Driver Services announced that 19,483 teens had availed themselves of the chance to upgrade their permit to a license without braving a road test. It’s fine, nobody actually knows how to parallel park anyway. Wisconsin has also decided to roll the bones on its teens, and of 16,000 road test requests put on hold, 10,000 will be waived.
Nintendo reported earnings, and as a longtime innovator in the realm of “activities for the bored and lonely” business is booming. Sales of the Switch console were up 34 percent year over year, moving 3.29 million units last quarter. Over the lifetime of the Switch, Nintendo has sold 55.77 million units worldwide, and they predict they’ll ship 19 million more over the next year, a hair behind the 21 million they sold over the past year. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been the showstopper game so far, selling 11.77 million copies in its first 10 days and a reported 13.41 million copies in its first six weeks. That would make it the sixth best-selling Switch title ever after just a few weeks of sales. Full year revenue hit 1.3 trillion yen ($12.3 billion), but I hear creditor Nook Incorporated is getting most of that.
Luxury spending rose 2 percent in late March, a peculiarity given that fast fashion sales were crashing 40 percent and the gears of large parts of the economy were grinding to a halt. There’s been other odd situations similar to that result — Ferrari has a higher market cap than General Motors, for instance — and it’s in part because the impact hasn’t been spread evenly. While half of Americans told an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll that they had been financially damaged by the pandemic, that would also imply that the other half have not really been financially damaged by the pandemic, and more of the Birkin bag set is probably in the half that’s managing.
France is calling upon her people to rise to the challenge, do their part for their country, and stand together as one people to do what must be done: eat 2,000 tons of cheese before it goes bad. According to the National Council of Appellations of Dairy Origin, which I’m sure rolls off the tongue a little easier en français, cheese sales were down 60 percent between March 17 and April 10, and producers will have 5,000 tons of overstocked cheese by the end of the emergency measures, which in France will extend until the end of July. The group said that 80 percent of cheeses do not have a shelf life over eight weeks, and on Monday, they called on France to do their part to contend with the 2,000 tons of cheeses of certified origin that have piled up already.
Blacklisting is the process by which an advertiser can specifically indicate that they don’t want their ad placed next to a specific type of content. On balance, this is sensible; I’m not a marketer, but it’s easy to understand why a fast casual restaurant chain would not want to advertise next to pornography, or an airline would not want to advertise on a video about an aviation disaster. The problem now is that many advertisers have effectively blacklisted appearing next to any and all news content, and that’s a systemic problem for the existence of the news industry, which unfortunately sometimes has to report on unpleasant things. Blacklisting during the pandemic prevented 1.3 billion ads from appearing next to news content related to the virus, with just a few companies bucking the trend. Were that to last through June, $1 billion in revenue for online news publishers in the U.S. will evaporate. On one hand, that’s a devastating issue, but on the other hand if the foundation of your business model depends on either a steady supply of good news or the benevolence of corporate America, it’s going to be a bad time.
Last week, paid subscribers got a wonderful Sunday interview with Dan Kopf, who has written fascinating stories about how the streaming music industry is actually changing music, and we talked all about the cool data he’s found. Dan can be found at Quartz and on Twitter, he’s also got a data-driven newsletter about the Bay Area worth checking out called The Golden Stats Warrior.
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