🏈 The NFL’s streaming szn

Monday, September 11, 2023 by Snacks
Cable may need a Hail Mary (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Cable may need a Hail Mary (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Cable may need a Hail Mary (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Cable may need a Hail Mary (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

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Hey Snackers,

Our thoughts go back to 22 years ago today: nearly 3,000 lives were lost in the terrorist attacks on New York, DC, and in Pennsylvania. This day is also one of service and remembrance as Americans are called to volunteer and find strength in unity.

Stocks were down last week as tech titans like Apple and Nvidia dragged markets and strong econ data stoked interest-rate fears. Still, the Fed is expected to pause rate hikes at its September 19-20 meeting. The goal: secure that Goldilocks soft landing.

Blitz

1. As football season kicks off, streamers like YouTube and Amazon could force a TV turnover

On any given Sunday… more NFL games will be available exclusively on streaming sites this year than ever. Yesterday, YouTube TV kicked off its first season airing the NFL’s “Sunday Ticket,” charging subscribers an extra $300/year for access. YouTube’s paying the NFL $2B+/season for the seven-year deal. Also: NBCUniversal’s Peacock (which has the most live sports of any streamer) will for the first time air a regular-season game and exclusively broadcast a wild-card playoff game. 

  • Prime time: Amazon’s on its second year as the exclusive home of “Thursday Night Football,” which Prime members can watch at no extra charge. Last year it averaged 11.3M viewers/telecast, drawing younger fans to the NFL. 

  • Red zone: The streaming deals are an effort to reduce the prevalence of illegal streams, too, which lose leagues billions yearly. 

Full-court press… As subscription saturation (#subscripturation) intensifies, streaming growth has slowed. Now streamers are hoping that investments in live sports will fuel growth, with good reason: last year sports made up 94 of the 100 most-watched telecasts — and 82 of ’em were for the NFL. Streamers are spending $6B+ to snag sports rights this year. 

  • Free tix: Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly going to offer a free live-sports trial on its Max streaming service (fka: HBO Max), thanks to its NBA and MLB media rights.

  • Wide net: Soccer icon Lionel Messi drove 288K new subs to Apple TV+’s MLS season add-on in a single month. 

  • Cord cut: Disney’s said to be planning to offer an “unbundled from cable” ESPN streamer by 2025, and Spectrum parent Charter said it’s reached a “point of indifference” on staying in TV.

THE TAKEAWAY

Streamers are stealin’ cable’s playbook… Folks are cord-cutting in record #s, but sports are mostly why many still stick around. As streamers offer more live games, cable’s lifeline could be snipped. ESPN made up over half of top telecasts for cable giant Charter in the past year, yet Charter has lost access to the network in a financial feud with Disney over, yes, streaming.

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Events

2. Coming up this week

One more thing… At Apple’s annual iPhone event tomorrow (this year dubbed “Wonderlust”), the mobile magnate’s expected to showcase its iPhone 15, fresh Apple Watches, and updated AirPods. Like its predecessor events, the reveal should be heavy on style and substance. Picture: new phone colors, camera upgrades, and (EU-mandated) standard charging ports. Apple’s hoping new gadgets will fuel customers’ appetites: hardware makes up 75% of its total revenue, but iPhone, Mac, and iPad sales all fell last quarter as electronics demand cooled.

Runnin’ on fumes… The United Auto Workers’ contract deadline with the Detroit Three automakers (GM, Ford, Stellantis) expires Thursday night. If a deal isn’t reached, as many as 146K workers could strike simultaneously — a labor move that could cost the US economy $5B in just 10 days. The union’s self-described “audacious” demands include a 32-hour workweek with 40-hour pay, the restoration of traditional pensions, and a 46% raise (for ref: UPS workers recently nabbed a 48% raise). Some analysts say a strike is likely.

Zoom Out

3. Stories we’re watching

Antitrust issues… The EU named six tech heavyweights as “gatekeepers” under the Digital Markets Act, a landmark regulation that aims to prevent techies from playing favorites with their own products and unfairly controlling (aka: gatekeeping) markets. On the naughty list: Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, and TikTok owner ByteDance. They have six months to comply with the DMA or face fines of up to 10% of their global annual sales (yikes). The DMA includes a ban on exclusive app stores and self-preferencing (think: pre-installed iPhone apps).

Beyond “Yes I am 18+”… A Texas judge stalled a law that would require adult-content sites like Pornhub to verify visitors’ ages. TX is one of six states that have passed laws requiring these sites to ask visitors for ID uploads (Utah also uses facial-age analysis) and 12+ states have similar bills. Pornhub said its site traffic — which, btw, is the US’s 12th highest — plunged 80% in Louisiana after the state became the first to enact age verification in January. That drop led Pornhub parent MindGeek to shutter its service in several states.

ICYMI

4. Last week's highlights

  • Pantry: Warner Bros. Discovery cut its profit forecast as the Hollywood strikes drag on. While some studios are reporting cost savings (because… no production), they can’t survive on the content stockpile forever. 

  • Airbnban: NYC Airbnb hosts must now register to rent their places for stays <30 days (and live at the location). Officials are trying to curb a housing shortage that’s driven rent prices to record highs.

  • Pumped: Gas prices hit a decade-plus seasonal high after Saudi Arabia and Russia said they’d continue to cut oil production throughout the year. The price hike could stoke inflation beyond the pump.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • RainLoop: Music streamers have beef with rain sounds. Streamer Deezer and Universal Music struck a deal to double payouts to artists to ensure they get paid more than popular white-noise uploads. 

  • NetWorth: New data from the Fed showed that the stock market propelled US household wealth to a record $154T (yes, trillion) last quarter. Rebounding home values helped drive the surge. 

  • Subs: Automakers are putting subscriptions into 4WD, requiring drivers to pay extra to unlock features like live traffic info and hands-free driving. GM is targeting $25B in subs and software revenue by 2030.

Snack Fact of the Day

73M Americans plan to bet on this NFL season — a 60% spike from last year

This Week

  • Monday: Permissionless DeFi conference begins. Earnings expected from Bowlero and Oracle 

  • Tuesday: Apple’s iPhone event

  • Wednesday: August core CPI data. Earnings expected from Cracker Barrel and Semtech 

  • Thursday: Initial jobless claims. United Auto Workers contract set to expire. Earnings expected from Adobe and Lennar 

  • Friday: Consumer-sentiment data

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Disney, GM, Microsoft, and Nvidia

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