By Walt Hickey
That new Godzilla movie did merely fine at the box office this weekend, making $49 million domestically. That opening for Godzilla: King of the Monsters is short of its predecessors, 2014’s Godzilla ($93 million) and Kong: Skull Island ($61 million). The film failed to expand beyond the existing fan base for such monster-related fare, with a whopping 76 percent of the opening weekend moviegoers being male and 59 percent over age 25. There’s one more of these films on the calendar — King Kong is going to fight Godzilla — which I’m sure seemed like a great idea at the time.
The Toronto Raptors have turned Canada into a basketball country: the average viewership of the opening game of the NBA finals was 3.5 million in Canada, which is roughly 10 percent of the population. The Raptors are up against perennial powerhouse Golden State Warriors. In game six of the semifinals, payment processors reported that bar tabs in the Toronto area jumped 28 percent. The Raptors are now worth $1.7 billion compared to the $1.5 billion that NHL participants, the Toronto Maple Leafs, are worth.
Sales of LaCroix are in free fall. A new report from a Guggenheim beverage industry analyst is a fairly concise summary of the fact I live in a bubble: sales of LaCroix fell 15 percent in May, after they fell 7 percent in April, which is also after they fell 5 and 6 percent in March and February respectively. The stock of the company that produces LaCroix has fallen 62 percent since September, and despite their central role in popularizing the seltzer space, every single competitor and distributor can produce what they make faster and distribute it more effectively than LaCroix can.
The Department of Justice is reportedly considering action against Google. The extent of it is that the company has made a number of decisions in recent years that steer users away from competitors, or deprive those rival of traffic in lieu of Google’s products. According to the research firm Jumpshot, 62 percent of mobile Google searches in March did not culminate in a click, possibly because Google itself populated a box at the top of the results that answered the question without necessarily steering the searcher to the source of the information provided. Google made 37 percent of online advertising revenue in the U.S. in 2018.
Mind The Gap
The Gap recently reported its worst sales result in years, and the company — which is essentially composed of The Gap, Banana Republic and the struggling Old Navy brand — may need to work on perceptions of its flagship brand. UBS was kind enough to run a consumer survey and then publish the results of it so they could dunk on The Gap in print. The Gap beat its peers by 5 percentage points on convenient locations, 4 percentage points on affordability, and 3 percentage points on sales and promotions. That concludes the positive portion of this report. The Gap trailed the competition by 11 points on being a “trend-setting brand,” by 4 points on both store design and clothing material, 8 percentage points on fresh collections and, most bruising of all, 18 percentage points below competitors on “unique designs.”
This year, IDC projects that 358 million smart devices like lights, speakers, thermostats and security systems will ship, a 27 percent increase over last year. The market is dominated by Amazon’s Alexa product, which has something like two-thirds of the market of smart speakers. Amazon is trying to guarantee a presence in the future homes of users by dealing with construction companies and contractors to pre-wire the company’s internet-connected devices — locks, lights, et cetera — directly into homes. As a repeat viewer of the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie and techno-thriller Smart House, I think I speak for all of us when I say I have some reservations.
Music Makes Me Gain Control
As we all know, music is making a lot of money again! The industry was, adjusting for inflation, something like a $25 billion business pre-2000, when the industry collapsed. In 2014, the music biz was worth $15 billion, but then streaming happened, and now people are quite bullish. In 2018 the music business made $19.1 billion in revenue, and that’s projected to rise to $25 billion in 2023 and $41 billion in 2030. So who’s winning, the small artists who create the songs that bolster the streaming era? Nah, it’s the big labels. For every $100 spent on CDs or vinyl, the major labels get $8. For every $100 spent on downloads, the biggies get $9. For streaming, that’s $13. Their take, plus that of the streaming platforms themselves, is much more likely to make money than the artists proper if historical precedent holds. The amounts changing hands are already enormous: Spotify alone spends about $288 million per month to labels and other copyright holders.
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