Numlock News: September 13, 2023 • Acceleration, Brady Bunch, Webtoons
By Walt Hickey
This is a really important week for pre-orders, I’ve been told, so get your copy of my upcoming book You Are What You Watch today!
The 1959 Studio City home that served as the exterior of the 1969 television show The Brady Bunch was bought by HGTV in 2018 for $3.5 million, upon which HGTV did what it was created to do: remodel, rebuild, and renovate aging American housing stock at considerable expense in the interest of flipping that sucker on national television. The network went so far as to renovate the entire interior to resemble the interior that was presented on television, which was a studio soundstage and not actually what the home’s interior looked like in the slightest. This involved adding the fictional second story to the very real chunk of real estate. Anyway, it didn’t work: The house just sold for $3.2 million, which is $2.3 million off the $5.5 million asking price and less than they bought it for in 2018.
One particularly neat thing about electric vehicles is that they can really accelerate, and the instant torque of an electric motor can get a car moving pretty damned quick compared to the gas-powered competition. A Tesla Model 3 can hit 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 3.5 seconds, but there’s a whole competitive tier of vehicle being designed by engineers simply to see how much pickup they can get on an electric. A Pininfarina Battista ($2.5 million) can hit 100 kilometers per hour in 1.85 seconds, and in May the Rimac Nevera ($2 million) hit 100 km/h in 1.74 seconds. A team of students in Switzerland just smashed those records, with student and driver Kate Maggetti getting an experimental EV called “mythen” to 100 km/h in an eye-watering 0.956 seconds.
Every U.S. streamer right now is trying to make a play to get more international content onto their platforms, in no small part because the domestic film and television product is on strike. For a while, distributors and streamers have looked abroad for film and television, and it’s a gamble, as local tastes outside of the U.S. are inconsistently aligned with U.S. preferences. The hits can be massive — Squid Game is the paragon example of a streamer taking a South Korean title and making it a slam dunk in the U.S. — but a lot of it doesn’t register. On Netflix, 60.5 percent of titles are international, but expressed as a percentage of demand account for 27.3 percent of viewing. A similar ratio is seen at Amazon Prime Video (60.3 percent of titles vs. 26.2 percent of viewing) and to a lesser extent at other streamers like Hulu (35 percent vs. 18.6 percent), Peacock (30.4 percent vs 11.4 percent) and Max (16.6 percent vs. 4.2 percent).
Just Double The Time In Trainings
A new study tracked the codes of ethics of 350 companies in the S&P 500, comparing their stated ethics in 2008 versus their ethics in 2019. The main conclusion? They’re really just much longer, a process which started after the carnage of the 2008-09 recession. Compared to the ethics of 2008, the 2019 corporate ethical codes were 29 percent longer, added 1,760 more words, and started including allusions to things like cybersecurity, transparency, slavery, trafficking, bribery, and phrases like “speak up.” The researchers argue this is not exactly well intentioned, and more designed to provide legal and media cover when it comes to future allegations of, you know, slavery, bribery, and miserable working conditions that would require someone to “speak up.”
The world of digital comics has long held steady at 10 percent to 15 percent of the overall comics market, despite garnering in many cases as much or more attention than the floppies and graphic novels that have served as the bedrock of the market. The big player is WEBTOON, but there are loads of startups — Legend, which launched this week, as well as Omnibus, GlobalComix and many more in the independent space. All are trying to establish themselves as a distribution channel in what’s expected to be a massively growing pie; over the next five years, manga is projected to grow to a $42 billion market and webtoons are projected to grow to a $26 billion one.
Riders On A Mission
Surfing aficionados have a love-hate relationship with Surfline, the primary online service to inform and gather fans of riding waves. The business offers predictions for surf conditions the world over, and maintains a network of over 1,000 cameras to bolster those forecasts, to the benefit of the millions of visitors every month who use it to try to catch a wave. The issue is that surfing has historically thrived amid limited information, with ideal spots closely guarded and spread only to trusted fellow surfers when they’ve earned it, rather than any guy who can check out a webcam. There’s a growing interest in surfing — the number of U.S. surfers increased by an estimated 1 million from 2019 to 2022 — and that’s causing tension. As a fan of the documentary series Rocket Power, I’m convinced that longtime surfers and the shoobies can perhaps one day settle their differences with time and diplomacy.
That’s A Lot Of New Doppler Radars
The 2024 election cycle in the United States is projected to hit $10.2 billion in political advertising spending, with half of that — $5.1 billion — projected to flow directly to local television stations. Cable will claim $1.9 billion of that, streaming and connected devices $1.3 billion, digital ads $1.2 billion, and radio $400 million. Some of the companies that own local television stations are even more bullish: Nexstar thinks that they’ll haul in $11 billion. Anyway, this might be a good reminder to support media formats that are utterly disinterested in politics and reject advertising with a fervent and unquenchable passion.
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