“Piggy Dippin at the Piggy Pond”
This week on the podcast we ran down our predictions for the biggest winners and losers of 2022. A bit premature to call it, when we’re exactly one-point-nine percent into the year, to be sure, but we decided to shoot our shots anyway.
One of the biggest winners of 2022 will no doubt be Tiktok, a media platform so impactful we rated it as a Definer at #2 in our annual Nine by Nine report. The Gen Z social video app recently grew to unseat Google’s 15-year reign as the most-trafficked site on the internet. How do we know that Tiktok will sustain its growth? It’s creating culture. It affects music, language, community affiliation, food, and even mental health. In short: Tiktok is the new monoculture:
“On [this year’s] New Year's Eve broadcast, the first three songs were all by performers you'd never heard of, but you knew the song that they sang because they're songs that are on TikTok. TikTok is making media. It's making culture, and I think that it is something to contend with.
— Phillip, Episode 237
In the 2000s, nerd culture became the culture. Comic books, anime, video games. In the 2020s, meme culture will become the culture, and Tiktok is the progenitor of online memes.
Tiktok, it seems, will be “piggy dippin at the piggy pond”. And, at least culturally, we’re all gonna dip our fat little toes in ‘der.
If you want to hear more about who else will win big (and lose even bigger) in 2022, check it out on this week’s pod.
Sporty Spice. Fanatics acquired trading card giant Topps. The $500 million deal includes physical and digital collectibles. Meanwhile, The New York Times will buy The Athletic for $550 million.
Editor’s note: If you’re like me and don’t pay enough attention to sports media to understand why this is a big deal — I’ve done the work for you. I had to dig deep to understand why the $500M acquisition of The Athletic by its acquirer, the New York Times, is such a big deal in the media world. Firstly, as a revenue multiple this is substantial. The Athletic grossed approximately $80M in revenue in 2021, while boasting one million subscribers. This represents approximately a ~7x revenue multiple. That seems hefty for a media company.
Secondly, Athletic founder Alex Mathers told the NYT in 2017 that he, quote, would “wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing…” welp. The irony that they sold to the very property wherein they boasted their holdout strategy is lost on… approximately no one.
Lastly, there’s history here. The two brands coming together is long-rumoured, but the two seemed to part ways in June when the NYT refused to pay venture-level multiples on revenue. The Athletic was fresh off a $50M round in Jan 2020, pre-pandemic, valuing them at $500M, in 2020 dollars. The fact that they exited for a pittance more than their 2020 number is noteworthy, and likely due to the fact that organized sports has had a (checks notes) very bad, terrible, awful couple of years.
Blockchain billions. OpenSea is now valued at $13.3 billion, thanks to new funding and an acquisition. The company raised $300 million in this round, and is looking to acquire Dharma Labs Inc.
More Sights and Sounds. At CES 2022, Sony announced their new division, Sony Mobility, as well as the Vision-S 02, their concept for a new electric SUV. Volkswagen and Toyota are committing $180B into electric mobility to take on Tesla. FedEx now has 500 electric delivery vehicles produced by GM’s BrightDrop. Walmart is also on the purchase order. (Spoiler: the van is an auto-pomorphized pug). And talk about out of home advertising arbitrage…fortune cookies are the new billboards. Shopify files a patent, signalling big(ger) moves into brick and mortar.
Maybe actually domestic? The “Made in USA” label makes us willing to pay extra to support products made here at home, but a New Balance class action lawsuit around that label is raising questions on how trustworthy the label is across industries.
Digestive distress on autopilot. In the most epic of $10 monthly subscription battles, the modern Game of Thrones seems to be: salad vs taco. While Sweet Green will offer a Sweetpass that gives customers a discount on daily expensive salads, Taco Bell will launch the Taco Lover's Pass to redeem a daily cheap taco. Amidst all our New Year’s resolutions, it’s got us facing the age-old quandary of whether to keep it real or live más.
The current subscription master to unseat? Panera, which Amex is currently giving away for free to Platinum card holders for 6 months (targeted offer).
Now, on to the Chickens and the Eggs. You may be rich, but are you Chick-fil-A black card rich??? Bet you didn’t even know about it. It’s okay, neither did we. Wait—should we have put the egg story first? Anyway, have you ever bought eggs from a vending machine? You can do that now.
Sourdough starting/Do you even whittle, bro? In this thought-provoking piece about America’s relationship with hobbies, Julie Beck dives into the journey of how “productive leisure” came to be a symbol of upstanding citizenship, and the great reprisal of meaningful hobbies during the pandemic.