Numlock News: September 22, 2022 • K-Pop, Lorcana, Mexican Beer
By Walt Hickey
Next year Disney’s releasing a new card game called Lorcana, the first seven cards of which were released at the D23 convention two weeks ago. To be clear, the game does not yet have a released rule set and nobody has any idea how to play it, but the trading cards are doing incredible business on secondary markets, with some bids already north of $2,000. It’s a sign that the red-hot market for trading cards isn’t showing any signs of abating; a year after The Pokémon Company released a record 9 billion cards, Wizards of the Coast made more sets of cards than ever, and Hasbro revealed Magic the Gathering made the bulk of the $1 billion it makes from Wizards of the Coast.
Christmas Industrial Complex
In 2021, there were 144 television movies released ahead of Christmas from the likes of Lifetime, Hallmark, Netflix and more. Already the docket for 2022 is looking to be packed, especially with the new emergence of Great American Family, a company started by a former Hallmark executive. This year Great American Family will have 17 originals, UPtv will release 17, Hallmark will release 40 and Lifetime will release 26, plus what’s certain to be some manner of output from Netflix, CBS and OWN. It’s a solid paycheck for the stars, who can bag $300,000 a pop for a female lead and $200,000 for a male lead.
Do The Right Thing
A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed 800,000 harassment and discrimination reports filed by postal workers between 2004 and 2019, and compared the time and the location of those complaints to local weather data. When the temperature was hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, reports increased 5 percent compared to days that are 60 to 70 degrees. Another study of tweets found that online hate speech increased 22 percent during extreme heat.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection had barred Mexican visitors from coming into the United States to sell blood plasma, a multibillion-dollar business on the border. A new ruling from a judge has overturned that policy given just how reliant the American blood supply is on this system. The United States is the only country in the world that allows people to sell plasma twice a week, and as a result the United States accounts for 60 percent of the plasma collected worldwide. Up to 10 percent of that plasma comes from Mexicans who have visas that allow brief visits for business and tourism.
In a complicated and challenging investment market, the discerning investor turns their eyes to a rare corner of growth and stability in the red ink of Wall Street: K-Pop. SM Entertainment, the Korean music company behind groups like NCT 127 and SuperM, has seen share price up 13.9 percent since September 12 and up 3.1 percent on the year as a whole. While the S&P 500 is down 19.1 percent on the year, Korean music companies have been doing just fine, with JYP Entertainment (home to Stray Kids and Twice) up 22.9 percent on the year and YG Entertainment (Blackpink’s company) down just 6.8 percent. The only big loser is HYBE, with shares down 54.9 percent on the year after the announcement that the members of BTS are pursuing solo projects.
Mexican beers account for fully 80 percent of the volume of beer imported into the United States, the rare bright spot in the overall declining beer business. Mexican beers were just seven in 10 imports as recently as three years ago. The nearest runner up is the Netherlands, which exports Heineken, but their exports are just 11 percent of the Mexican volume. Total beer sales are down 1.2 percent from May to August of this year, while sales of Corona Extra are up 10 percent over the past 12 weeks, Pacifico is up 40 percent, and Modelo Especial is up 17 percent.
Hertz on Tuesday announced a commitment to buy 175,000 electric vehicles from General Motors. Electric vehicle adoption by rental car companies is a huge deal, because they buy one out of every 10 cars sold in the United States over the past decade, but those cars are responsible for a quarter of all miles traveled according to industry groups. Hertz says those cars could drive 8 billion miles over the next five years, which would avoid emitting 3.5 million tons of carbon that would have been burned in the event those were gasoline cars.
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