Netflix wants movie theater creeps

January 2, 2019
Dow Jones: 23,327 (+1.15%)
S&P 500: 2,507 (+0.85%)
Nasdaq: 6,635 (+0.85%)
Bitcoin: $3,801 (+2.83%)
10-Year Treasury: 2.686%

Hey, 2019. Good news: Expectations are low.

The S&P 500 had its worst year since the '08 financial crisis (down 6.2%) but managed to end on a positive New Year's Eve note. Now investors haves stumbled back into the office because the Monthly Jobs Report for December happens at the end of the week.

1. Netflix has 1st blockbuster movie

New Year's Res: Brag more... Netflix started early over the weekend, as it tweeted that 45,037,125 accounts had streamed its original new movie Bird Box in the fist 7 days. That's Netflix's self-proclaimed best movie debut ever, and is in the same ballpark as Hollywood theater debuts. Watch out @MickeyMouse.

TV's been crushed. So far Movies haven't... In 2018 humans busted into movie theaters at the highest rate ever. One reason movie-going hasn't been disrupted like TV is that nobody's tried cutting out the movie theater middle man. Netflix is right now with 2 originally produced movies:

  • Bird Box - Sandra Bullock's epic thriller is basically a 🙈blindness version of A Quiet Place 🙊
  • ROMA - The 1970's Mexico based epic didn't debut on Netflix but went to theaters first, which is a requirement to get Oscar award consideration, and is now a favorite for Best Picture 🎭
  • *** If you've got a Netflix username and password, you can pop your own popcorn and watch them free-ish

The Takeaway: is the best ad real estate... Movie studios pay big to force snarky Deadpool ads in your face in the subway and Aquaman trailers before the YouTube video you actually wanted to see (skip in 5 seconds). Netflix crushed with Bird Box even though it spent nothing to market it. That's because you spend 30% of each night browsing Netflix looking for something to watch. And Bird Box is right there.

2. Chipotle just had its best year since 2013

Yeah, we know the "guac is extra"... We didn't know Chipotle was living its best life -- The stock rose 50% in 2018 for its strongest performance since a fajita-fueled 80% surge 5 years ago. Those norovirus outbreaks that dropped sales from 2015-2016 feel like many meals/bathroom trips ago.

Burrito bowls are an art and a science... And Brian Niccol is their Da Vinci. He's the former Taco Bell CEO who became Chipotle CEO in early 2018. He's using the rando food "innovation" of his former employer to get Chipotle creatively experimenting with new options. Here's what the kitchen's testing, and we're liking:

  • Chocolate Milkshakes: We're talking high grade Mexican beans
  • Breakfast Burritos: So you'll actually come in before noon
  • Avocado Tostados: Because people think our generation is physically and psychologically dependent upon them
  • Nachos: A smaller item for your friend who just survived a juice cleanse

The Takeaway: Lines are for losers... We've lost 3 years of productive life waiting in them for barbacoa. Niccol knows convenience is king, so his other major move is upping the chain's order-ahead game: He's improved the app, added takeout-only prep kitchens, tested drive-up windows, and created pick-up only shelves. Now sales are up 20% during his reign.

3. Google's self driving cars are getting harassed 

Your wheels aren't welcome here... The state of Arizona's hooked up Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car company, with lax rules and regulations. But Arizonians are saying "Don't self-Tread On Me" -- They're slashing tires, breaking windows, and screaming profanities at the robo-taxis, according to the NYT. And others are trying to get fender-bendered.

One reason for the hate... is that Arizonians don't want to be test rats while the tech still isn't safe (an Uber car killed a woman in March). But even when they become super safe, people could resist automation and change -- look at the e-scooters getting pooed on and thrown into ponds/rivers when nobody's looking.

The Takeaway: Humans can sabotage artificial intelligence... A big trend of 2019 will be the rise in automated things -- cars, delivery coolers, drones, grocery stores. They can't use pepper spray or identify a vandal in a police roundup. So the companies that roll them out need good PR (and ideally adorable looks like Postmates new "Serve") to get the masses to like them. 

What else we're 'Snacking

  • Social-ish: Sudan blocked Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter during anti-government protests
  • Healthy: Merck was 2018's  best stock in the Dow -- it surged 30% last year
  • Nudged: Netflix removes an episode of its new show because Saudi Arabia complained
  • Miss: Apple never unveiled its wireless charger (it promised to in 2018)

'SnackFact of the Day
Vermont is the only state in the Northeast that had more people moving in (68%) than moving out (32%) in 2018 

Submitted by Jack Kramer (Brattleboro, VT)
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Today's MarketSnacks Yearly Podcast

  • Our 3 Takeaways from 2018: The big things you need to remember before 2019's resolutions 
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