WeWork, the company whose co-working spaces are populating many of the world’s biggest cities, said that revenue last year more than doubled, though its losses are growing just as fast.
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In a presentation sent to CNBC on Monday, WeWork said revenue in 2018 climbed to $1.8 billion from $886 million a year earlier. Members, or the people who pay for monthly use of WeWork’s facilities, jumped to 401,000 from 186,000, accounting for 88 percent of revenue. CEO Adam Neumann said in January that the company reached annualized revenue of $2.5 billion in the fourth quarter, though that number was reported as $2.43 billion in the latest presentation.
WeWork’s business model continues to rely on heavy funding from private investors, namely SoftBank, which has poured over $10 billion into the company, including $2 billion this year. WeWork has to plunge cash into real estate in some of the most expensive markets and makes money back over time as companies and individuals pay their rent, or membership.
Those investments left WeWork with a net loss in 2018 of $1.9 billion, up from $933 million in 2017. By one metric, which WeWork calls “community adjusted” earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the company is becoming more profitable. That margin was 28 percent last year up from 27 percent a year earlier.
In January, WeWorks said that it’s rebranding as the We Company as it intends to expand beyond just work spaces. The company has touted its move into residential living communities, dubbed WeLive, and early education schools called WeGrow. Each of those business segments will run as stand-alone units under the new We Company umbrella.
Within the WeWork business, enterprise members account for 32 percent of the total, up from 23 percent a year earlier. Those customer have longer commitments, generally three to five years, said Artie Minson, WeWork’s finance chief.
WeWork’s financials are hitting the market at a time when the company’s peers in the broader sharing economy space are preparing to hit the public markets. Lyft is expected to debut later this week at a valuation north of $20 billion. Its larger ride-hailing rival, Uber, is reportedly not far behind, while room-sharing company Airbnb is also gearing up to go public.
“We’re rooting for everyone’s success,” said Michael Gross, WeWork’s vice chairman, in an interview. “We’re watching it obviously, but it’s not going to dictate our timeline. We have an incredibly strong hand.”
Expect the unexpected, because the NFL draft never goes according to plan.
Even the very best outside talent evaluators and most informed analysts struggle to make predictions with any certainty.
Inevitably, teams fall in love with certain prospects, trades occur and one surprise pick changes the draft’s entire outlook. Once one of those eventualities occurs, everything thought throughout the predraft process will be blown to smithereens and a butterfly effect will commence.
Since team-building isn’t an exact science, there is no specific way to fill out an entire 53-man roster and just a few out-of-the-box first-round selections can change the entire draft’s complexion.
All 32 teams bring different approaches and some are bound to make surprising decisions: Possibilities range from selecting a prospect much earlier than projected to filling a lesser need or simply targeting a position that’s already been addressed prior to the event.
Narrowing down the innumerable possibilities is impossible. As such, only a few potential first-round flash points are highlighted where organizations may go against the grain of traditional thinking.
These surprise picks will define the 2019 NFL draft in Nashville, Tennessee.
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Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
The Oakland Raiders built an impressive supporting cast for quarterback Derek Carr. Or…have they?
Carr has been a solid, albeit unspectacular option behind center. However, the 27-year-old quarterback counts for $86 million against the salary cap over the next four seasons.
“He’s our franchise quarterback, yes,” head coach Jon Gruden said, per the San Jose Mercury News‘ Matt Schneidman, “I’ll try to make that clear.”
Then again, the Raiders didn’t plan to trade Khalil Mack and Gruden, himself, denied reports the team was shopping Amari Cooper.
Circumstances change. At the very least, the Raiders organization has done its due diligence on top quarterback prospects.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson came away impressed by Kyler Murray at Oklahoma’s pro day.
“That was impressive, really impressive,” Olson told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole. “He had a great workout.”
But Murray is the favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Arizona Cardinals. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins is in the mix at No. 4, though. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year had a private workout scheduled with the Raiders.
Financially, a quarterback swap makes sense since Oakland would eat only $7.5 million in a Carr trade, while last year’s fourth overall pick, Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward, made $5.3 million in his first year. Thus, the Raiders could save over $9 million against the cap while giving Gruden his preferred option.
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Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press
The New York Giants have been spinning their wheels all offseason to make up for previous mistakes.
The organization didn’t place the franchise tag on Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins, who signed a six-year, $84 million contract with the rival Washington Redskins. As a result, general manager Dave Gettleman demanded the Cleveland Browns include third-year safety Jabrill Peppers in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. With Beckham no longer on the team, the Giants signed veteran wide receiver Golden Tate to a four-year, $37.5 million contract.
Tate’s addition provides a weapon in the passing game, but he doesn’t completely solve the team’s issues at wide receiver. The Giants lack a true outside threat who can stretch opposing defenses.
Despite quarterback being at the forefront of every Giants draft conversation, the team seems content going into another season with the 38-year-old Eli Manning behind center. He needs more help, though.
Ole Miss’ D.K. Metcalf heads a stronger-than-expected wide receiver class with the profile to be an elite selection. The 6’3″, 228-pound target with 4.33-second 40-yard dash speed and a 40.5-inch vertical jump is an overwhelming physical presence. He’ll help open up the entire offense and allow Tate and Sterling Shepard to work underneath routes.
Gettleman already tried to cover up other poor decisions. Metcalf is the perfect move to reset and move on from Beckham.
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Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
An NFL franchise is going to fall in love with Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. It’s inevitable.
Two quarterbacks—Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins—are treated as the only elite talents at the position, but this may very well be a three-horse race.
“Physically, he has a lot to like … an impressive combination of size (6’4″, 228 pounds), underrated mobility and a live arm,” an NFL evaluator said of Lock, per Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor.
Lock’s impressive arm talent and movement skills (4.69-second 40-yard dash) are only part of the equation. A franchise quarterback must have the right demeanor to become a team leader.
“Kid truly loves the game and carries himself much different than others,” another evaluator said. “He’s got a cool, calm and collected demeanor, and the AAU ball [basketball] he played growing up really helped him relate with different cultures. I think guys will naturally gravitate to him at the next level.”
The Denver Broncos’ acquisition of Joe Flacco took pressure off the organization to select a quarterback early in the draft process. His presence doesn’t prevent the team from drafting a quarterback with the 10th overall pick, though.
The 34-year-old Flacco is an ideal short-term bridge after serving the same role last season for the Baltimore Ravens, and he doesn’t have a single guaranteed dollar left on his contract.
According to Denver 9News’ Mike Klis, the Broncos will host Lock on a predraft visit. The 22-year-old prospect isn’t a polished passer—but he can learn from a Super Bowl-winning quarterback then take over the starting role once the Broncos decide to move past Flacco.
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Joe Robbins/Getty Images
More often than not, Florida’s Jawaan Taylor is slotted to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the seventh overall pick. The position slotting may be correct, but a different player could interest the Jaguars.
Alabama’s Jonah Williams isn’t a sexy option even among offensive linemen. As a result, he’s been mistreated through the entire draft process.
The three-year starter and two-time All-SEC performer doesn’t fit traditional standards for a top-10 pick: He’s not the biggest, longest or most athletic blocker. He doesn’t present the most upside, either. These trains of thought are how draft mistakes occur.
Williams is not a guard; he’s an offensive tackle and a damn good one. His game is predicated on what really matters: technique and skill. He’s as consistent as any prospect in recent memory, with starting experience at both right and left tackle.
The final point is especially important to Jacksonville. The Jaguars released starting right tackle Jermey Parnell earlier this offseason. Four-fifths of the team’s offensive front appears set, but a final piece is needed to keep the team’s new quarterback, Nick Foles, upright.
If Jacksonville decides it wants a lineman with more upside and power at the point of attack, Taylor will be the choice. However, Williams is a plug-and-play blocker to solidify right tackle from the moment he’s drafted. He’s not going to be overwhelmed, because he can always rely on his technique to overcome.
With Williams off the board sooner rather than later, other top offensive line prospects like Taylor and Washington State’s Andre Dillard will be pushed down the board further than expected.
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Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Ole Miss’ D.K. Metcalf isn’t the unchallenged top wide receiver prospect in this year’s draft class: Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler can make a strong case as well.
“He’s a freak show to me,’ former Iowa State teammate David Montgomery told NFL Draft Bible’s Ric Serritella. “You can’t teach that length. You can’t teach what he can do on the field. How he went out there and how confident he was every day, bringing that aura to the field and team was one of the best I’ve seen.”
Butler became only the sixth 6’5″, 220-pound wide receiver since 2010 to run a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, per NFL Network’s Ben Fennell. More importantly, the massive target knows how to use his size.
According to NFL.com’s Graham Barfield, 55 percent of Butler’s receptions gained 20 or more yards. He also led the class in yards per route and an average of 22 yards per reception (among receivers with 40 or more catches).
If quarterbacks Kyle Murray, Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock are off the board, Washington won’t be in a position to select a signal-caller who can challenge veteran Case Keenum.
Instead, the front office can do its best by surrounding the team’s new starter with an outstanding supporting cast. Butler has the potential to be everything the team originally envisioned when it used a first-round pick to draft Josh Doctson in 2016.
Granted, Butler may not be an ideal fit for Jay Gruden’s rhythm passing offense, but that’s not much of a concern since Washington’s front office only worries about talent and doesn’t take the team’s scheme into consideration.
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Jay LaPrete/Associated Press
A combination of speed and potential scheme fit has Ohio State’s Parris Campbell rising into the first round after being considered a Day 2 prospect throughout most of the draft process.
More than ever, offensive football is reliant on creating chunk plays.
The Baltimore Ravens lacked this aspect, even though a spectacular run game orchestrated by quarterback Lamar Jackson led to a playoff berth.
As a result, Baltimore decided to repurpose their wide receiver corps. Right now, that group consists of Willie Snead IV, Jordan Lasley, Jaleel Scott and Chris Moore.
Campbell automatically brings game-changing speed. The first-team All-Big Ten performer ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the combine. But he’s more than a straight-line athlete. As impressive as Ole Miss’ D.K. Metcalf was in Indianapolis, Campbell is a better overall athlete and tested in the 99th percentile among NFL wide receivers, according to Three Sigma Athlete’s Zach Whitman.
Campbell isn’t just a height-weight-speed prospect, though; he set an Ohio State single-season record last season with 90 receptions.
Furthermore, he can become an integral part of a Ravens offense with his ability to create with the ball in his hands, as he averaged 14.8 yards after catch on screen passes, according to Bleacher Report’s Ryan McCrystal (via Sports Info Solutions). Campbell ranked seventh overall with an average of 8.9 yards after catch per reception, per Pro Football Focus.
Baltimore doesn’t need a traditional outside target; the team needs someone who can be worked into the scheme and maximize touches.
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Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
The Houston Texans going in any direction other than an offensive lineman in the first round after investing very little during free agency—no, Matt Kalil doesn’t count—will be the biggest surprise of the entire draft.
A potential tight end selection only adds to the confusion, even though the approach makes some sense.
The team signed free agent Darren Fells and still sports a pair of talented young tight ends in Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas. Plus, Ryan Griffin and Jerell Adams remain on the roster.
None of the aforementioned options should prevent the Texans from selecting a tight end if an outstanding talent is available. Houston utilized 12 personnel more than any other team last season, according to Sharp Football’s Warren Sharp. The Texans had a least two tight ends on the field 36 percent of the time.
The position is important to the entire offensive scheme, but it lacks a difference-maker.
Noah Fant’s skill set is unlike anything found on Houston’s roster. The Iowa product is an elite athlete, who tested among the 98th percentile for NFL tight ends, according to Three Sigma Athlete’s Zach Whitman. He’s a mismatch waiting to happen.
Fant is a move tight end who can be used in a manner of ways to complement the weapons already on the roster. Plus, he’s been well-coached by Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa staff to contribute as a blocker, even though it’s not a strong suit.
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Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press
A major knee injury doesn’t derail a prospect’s future like it once did.
Jeffery Simmons looked like a future top-10 selection, despite pleading no-contest to simple assault in 2016 for repeatedly striking a woman, until he suffered a torn ACL while training for the NFL combine.
The timing of the injury is unfortunate because the Mississippi State defensive tackle won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. But an already established squad at the back end of the first round could take a chance on a top talent, who may be ready to play during the final month of the regular season.
The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t entirely settled at 1-technique. Haloti Ngataretired and the organization declined Timmy Jernigan’s option so he became a free agent.
General manager Howie Roseman reloaded along the defensive front by re-signing Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. Malik Jackson’s free-agent signing provides another option along the interior. But the group lacks a true point-of-attack nose tackle.
According to Pro Football Focus, the 6’4″, 300-pound Simmons finished third among interior defenders last season with an 11.8 run-stop percentage and finished fifth with an 89.7 pass-rush grade.
The Eagles’ defensive success is built upon attacking opposing quarterbacks in waves. However, the group is aging. Graham, Curry, Jackson, Chris Long and Fletcher Cox will be 29 or older by the end of the year.
The chance to draft a top defensive line talent at a discount price is the type of investment that will keep the Eagles’ front effective for an extended period.
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George Frey/Getty Images
The Green Bay Packers placed themselves in a position every organization wants to be in: The franchise will enter the draft with no glaring holes and a pair of first-round picks to use.
Free-agent signings of Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos and Billy Turner addressed the team’s issues at pass-rush, safety and guard. As a result, the Packers can now let the draft come to them without forcing a pick based on significant need.
A little foresight will allow the team to address a position beyond the upcoming campaign. For example, right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who has been a starter since the team selected him with a 2010 first-round pick, just turned 30 years old, missed 13 games over the last two seasons and enters the final season on his contract.
Washington’s Kaleb McGary quietly went about his business during the predraft process and may have worked his way up to a first-round prospect when the career right tackle wasn’t originally considered a top offensive line prospect.
First, McGary more than held his own at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, against the draft class’ top defenders. He then performed well at the NFL combine with top-10 performances among offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (5.05 seconds), vertical jump (33.5 inches), broad jump (9’3″) and short shuttle (4.58 seconds).
David Bakhtiari and a healthy Bulaga form arguably the league’s best offensive tackle tandem, but the Packers have reached the point where alternatives are necessary to protect Aaron Rodgers.
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Brad Tollefson/Associated Press
The New England Patriots don’t make forced or short-sighted decisions during the draft. They’re not going to take a quarterback at the end of the first round just because they’re worried about Tom Brady’s eventual decline.
If the right prospect is available, the Patriots will select Brady’s heir apparent. West Virginia’s Will Grier has a chance to be that prospect.
Generally speaking, four quarterbacks—Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Missouri’s Drew Lock and Duke’s Daniel Jones—are considered first-round prospects with Grier on the outside looking in, and understandably so.
Physically, the one-time Florida transfer isn’t the most impressive option. He’s not the biggest or most athletic and his arm talent isn’t as explosive as others in the class. Grier turns 24 years old before the draft as well.
Yet, he’s impressive in two vital areas. According to Pro Football Focus, Grier graded best against the blitz, with a 22-0 touchdown-interception ratio, and finished fifth in deep passing grade. Grier then “put on a show” during West Virginia’s pro day and has a scheduled meeting with the Patriots, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Grier isn’t likely to be available with the 56th or 64th picks since multiple quarterback-needy teams are in play at the top of the second round. And a quarterback selection with the final pick of the first round will provide the Patriots with the all-important fifth-year option on the prospect’s rookie contract.
Separately, in Southern California, federal prosecutors announced that Avenatti was facing federal charges of bank fraud and wire fraud. According to the criminal complaint, Avenatti defrauded The Peoples Bank, located in Biloxi, Mississippi, and defrauded a legal client out of a portion of a $1.6 million settlement.
According to the filing, these schemes were interconnected with Avenatti’s business dealings, including his attempts to keep Tully’s, a coffee chain based in Seattle, Washington, afloat.
More than 45 suits have been filed against Global Baristas, the parent company of Tully’s, since it was purchased by Avenatti in 2013. In 2017, the company owed roughly $5 million in unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, according to a federal tax lien.
Dempsey soon sued to be let out of the partnership, alleging that Avenatti failed to disclose that he took out a $2 million loan to buy Tully’s. The case was settled out of court, with Dempsey dissolving his relationship with Avenatti and cutting ties with Tully’s and Global Baristas.
In March 2018, Tully’s abruptly shut down all remaining locations.
“Dozens of people showed up for work on that March morning to find they were without a job,” an employee who worked Tully’s for eight years told Business Insider in June.
“Many are college students that needed to work to help lighten the financial burden on their parents, to reduce as much as possible any future student loans, and to cover their day to day cash needs,” he continued. “Many are single moms that seriously depended on their income to support their families.”
In the months that followed, six former Tully’s employees spoke with Business Insider, alleging that they witnessed signs of financial woes, such as inadequate upkeep and issues with suppliers.
An IRS special agent who interviewed Tully’s employees as part of a federal investigation highlighted similar problems in the complaint unsealed on Monday.
According to one former employee identified by the initials “B.H.” who was featured in the complaint: “Avenatti did not reinvest into the company and the stores were failing. B.H. said that there was a ‘steady bleeding’ of [Global Baristas] and Avenatti placed ‘band aids’ on it.”
Money from Global Baristas’ accounts was transferred to bank accounts associated with Avenatti’s law firms, with more than $1.7 million in payments being transferred from Global Baristas accounts from 2015 to 2017, according to the complaint.
The complaint states that Avenatti attempted to prevent the government from collecting payroll taxes from Global Baristas by “lying to an IRS Revenue Officer, changing contracts, merchant accounts, and bank account information to avoid liens and levies imposed by the IRS, and instructing employees to deposit over $800,000 in cash from Tully’s stores … into a bank account associated with a separate entity.”
Employees featured in the complaint said they believed Avenatti to be the owner and CEO of Global Baristas, contrary to his claims that he merely served as general counsel. According to an employee who handled the company’s accounting transactions until September 2018, Avenatti earned $250,000 a year as the CEO and chairman.
“To date, the government has been unable to locate any information confirming that Avenatti has sold Global Baristas LLC or Global Baristas US,” states the recently unsealed complaint. “To the contrary, based on the information available to the government, it appears these statements are false.”
Avenatti did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on Monday.
Avenatti sought loans from The Peoples Bank on behalf of Global Baristas and his law firms. As Avenatti pursued the loans, the complaint states, he provided false financial documents, including fake IRS filings and incorrect corporate financial material.
In or around December 2014, for example, Avenatti allegedly provided a 2012 IRS Form 1040 claiming that he made $4 million in 2013 and paid $1.3 million in taxes; according to IRS records, Avenatti did not file an IRS Form 1040 for 2013, nor did he pay any taxes to the IRS that year. Avenatti failed to file personal federal income taxes from 2011 to 2017, though he “generated substantial income and lived lavishly,” according to the complaint.
Upon receiving the apparently fake IRS form, The Peoples Bank wired $494,500 to a bank account associated with Avenatti’s law firm.
The complaint also alleges Avenatti defrauded a client of his law firm, using the client’s portion of a $1.6 million settlement toward his own purposes. According to the complaint, Avenatti used $1.6 million transferred into one of his accounts related to the settlement for payment such as to Tully’s vendors, a lawyer who represented Global Baristas, and a bank account under the name of “Michael Avenatti, Esq.”
Avenatti told the client that the company never wired the settlement money.
Researchers at NVIDIA have developed a deep learning model that uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) to convert rough sketches into life-like images. This technology can be used by architects, urban planners, landscape designers and game developers for creating visually stunning virtual worlds.
Apple‘s stock dropped during the trading session because its batch of new products failed to impress the folks on Wall Street, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Monday.
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“As I predicted, when the world’s largest company announced a whole slate of new products and services today, the stock got hammered and that weakness reverberated throughout the market,” the “Mad Money” host said.
“The stock rolled over because these are all, I guess, pedestrian applications,” he added.
In a star-studded presentation, the tech giant revealed new services including its much-anticipated Apple TV+ streaming platform, Apple News+ package, Apple Card credit card, and Apple Arcade gaming bundle. Cramer estimated that these subscriptions could save consumers about $100 a month.
“These are all services for the 99 percent of America, not the 1 percent. And to the analysts who are a part of the 1 percent, these perks mean nothing. They don’t care about saving a little extra money,” he said. “They want Apple to change the world, not save you maybe $100 a month. But to most Americans, $100 a month is a godsend.”
Cramer said that analysts were fishing for a blockbuster deal that would move the needle, but came up short. A move that would get analysts excited would be something like spending $50 billion on content to rival Netflix, picking up both Viacom and CBS for $40 billion, or to go after Cerner and Dexcom for $20 billion.
“If Apple did these deals, they could convert many of the analysts into believers, and that would get the stock moving right here, right now,” he said.
Cramer acknowledged the market dragged lower because the Treasury bond yield curve is flashing signs of a potential recession, which the host isn’t convinced of. He also said the ongoing trade standoff between the United States and China has no end in sight, as well as the Brexit dispute in the United Kingdom.
Additionally, big funds are selling off stocks to free up cash for the flurry of IPOs this year. Ride-hailing app Lyft will hit public markets Friday and its top competitor Uber also plans to go public this year.
“They don’t get enough new money in to participate in these deals without ringing the register on something else, so they’re dumping high-flying stocks like Salesforce … in order to get in the likes of like Lyft and Uber,” Cramer said.
“In the end, today was ‘Apple Day’ and as much as I like all the bells and whistles, I know the Wall Street jackals were not appeased,” he said. “They wanted a game-changer that cost a fortune, not a bunch of pedestrian incremental improvements. I think they’re wrong, which is why I continue to say you need to own Apple, not trade it.”
Apple has finally shared details on its long-awaited streaming service, including a name: Apple TV+. It will bow out in over 100 countries this fall.
CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple TV+ will be “the destination for the highest quality originals,” including documentaries, dramas, kids shows, and comedies.
At the event, filmmakers and actors from these star-studded Apple TV+ originals showed up on stage to introduce the world to their upcoming projects. Here are the officially announced TV shows coming our way.
The Morning Show
The Morning Show stars Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, and Jennifer Aniston as cast members of a Today Show–style morning television program. In their announcement, the actors described the fictional show as tackling the dynamics between men and women in in television.
See places Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard in a dystopian future that takes place hundreds of years after a global virus decimated the world population and left the remaining members of humanity blind. The world of See is one built with no regard for visual stimuli, and the series will explore what a world without sight feels like.
Coming from the minds behind Sesame Street, Helpsters features a new character named Cody who is a monster who loves to help people with their problems. Cody and friends aim to teach children to become more helpful people, and hopes to introduce young children to the basics of code just as Sesame Street taught them A-B-C and 1-2-3.
Toxic Labor and an untitled Oprah Winfrey project
Television legend Oprah partnered with Apple to bring two new projects to Apple TV+. One is an as-yet-untitled multi-part series examining the impact and effects of mental health, trauma, stress, and loss on people all over the world. The other is titled Toxic Labor, and will explore the effects of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, known for The Big Sick, are creating this half-hour anthology series centering around the everyday lives of immigrants. They will executive produce and write alongside Lee Eisenberg (The Office). Little America is based on true stories featured in Epic Magazine. Every episode will be different in genre — comedy, romance, drama.
J.J. Abrams has teamed up with Waitress duo Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson for this half-hour romantic dramedy. The 10-episode series doubles as a love letter to the musicality of New York City. Little Voice, which is also the title of a Bareilles album, is all about finding your true voice and having the courage to use it. It will feature original songs from Bareilles.
Steven Spielberg has boarded Apple TV+ to create the fantasy anthology Amazing Stories, based on the 1985 show of the same name. Executive producers also include Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz of Lost and Once Upon a Time fame. Guest stars include Edward Burns, Kerry Bishé, Timothy Carr, and Austin Stowell.
… And more!
In addition to all the projects presented on stage during the event, the Apple TV+ sizzle reel featured still more shows in the works.
Those included Are You Sleeping, a crime drama starring Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul, and Ron Cephas Jones; For All Mankind, a science fiction project about an ongoing space race starring Joel Kinnaman; Dickinson, the comedic Emily Dickinson show starring Hailee Steinfeld; Hala, a feature film by Minhal Baig starring Geraldine Viswanathan; and untitled series by M. Night Shyamalan and Hilde Lysiak.
This article will be updated as more details emerge about these shows and others.
The Wall Street Journal turned heads with the news today that it’s participating in Apple News Plus, the phone maker’s new $10-a-month all-you-can-read subscription service, while The New York Times and The Washington Post sat it out.
The Journal’s inclusion surprised media watchers who thought the service would cannibalize high-priced newspapers because they can make more money selling individual subscriptions than they can selling them as part of a bundle. The Journal charges $39 a month whereas Apple News Plus costs $10, and participating publishers share only half of that based on the time people spend with their publication. (BI Prime stories are also available in Apple News Plus.)
But Will Lewis, publisher of the Journal, said the publisher doesn’t think the deal will cannibalize existing subscriptions but will reach new readers that aren’t already paying for the Journal.
“It’s an era of product segmentation,” he told Business Insider. “So there are millions of people that will continue to want to become Wall Street Journal members and have the full offering that centers on business and markets and finance and hard-core politics … but there’s also millions that will be attracted to a slightly different offering … that’s more snackable.”
The Journal said it plans to hire several dozen people in the coming weeks, including reporters in politics, US News and features, as well as editors, to support the Journal’s expansion on the app. Jennifer Hicks was named editor of news partnerships, to own the Apple relationship, working with the news and business sides of the Journal.
Lewis said the collaboration with Apple was a multi-year agreement and that it would extend to areas like video, voice, market data and AI.
The Journal will choose articles from its news report to include in Apple News
The Journal publishes thousands of stories a day and won’t likely put its entire news report in Apple News, but will leave it to the Journal’s top editor Matt Murray to decide what performs the best. That will probably skew towards general news, politics, and sports, Lewis said.
“Is all our content going on Apple News?” Lewis said. “No. We’re going to make sure the Apple News product is a wonderful product people feel comfortable investing in.”
For their part, the Times and Post said they were sitting out the news bundle because they valued having direct relationships with their subscribers and growing their subscription base.
“We’re selective in our approach to working with the platforms and view our relationships with them mostly through the lens of access to new audiences,” a Times spokesperson said by email. “We create journalism that is worth paying for so having a direct relationship with our audience is essential. As a subscription-first business, we are focused on growing our highly engaged global audience and we believe the best way for that audience to experience our journalism is on our own site and apps.”
The Washington Post said joining the service didn’t make sense for the paper
A Washington Post spokesperson said: “Our focus is on growing our own subscription base, so joining [Apple News Plus] did not make sense for us at this point. Apple has been a very good partner — we will continue collaborating with them on other ongoing projects and expect to do many things with them in the future.”
Other publishers participating in the bundle also saw potential upside. One is Meredith Magazines, whose magazines are mostly monthly and cost less than the national newspapers.
Meredith plans to have its 31 magazines, which include People and Parents, in Apple News+ at launch. As one of the former owners of Apple News+ predecessor Texture, Meredith was obligated to be part of the bundle.
Doug Olson, president of Meredith Magazines said the bundle is a chance to get new customers who aren’t already among Meredith’s 42 million print subscribers. The magazines Meredith sold through Texture accounted for just 1% to 2% of Meredith’s subscription base, he said.
“Our expectation is we’re going to get some net new subscribers,” Olson said. “We have a lot of female-focused titles, and women in general really like the printed magazine.”
One big sticking point for publishers was that Apple would own the data on subscribers and withhold it from publishers. Olson said Meredith would know approximately the types of people who are subscribing to the service.
“If we did have email addresses or physical addresses, then we could market to them directly,” he said. “But we think the opportunity to get to these new consumers outweighs the hurdles.”