Each week via our 'Weekly Rundown' segment, we highlight stories we thought were interesting, notable across business and technology. This week, we showcase stories on Portillo's seeking to go public, Pocket finds a new home, short-form audio is the new Tik Tok, NFL ditches Clubhouse, royalties for artists in the UK, and how Erika Nardini transforms BarStool over the last five years.
Stream and Download the Episode Below
Story-1:: Portillo's plans IPO
Overview: The Oak Brook-based fast-casual chain known for its Italian beef sandwiches, chocolate cake, and of course, hot dogs, submitted paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission proposing an initial public offering of its common stock, Portillo’s said in a news release.
Why It Matters: Portillo's average unit volume was more than $7.7 million per store in 2020, according to market research firm Datassential. That dwarfed the next highest estimate among quick-service and fast-casual chains, which was Chick-fil-A's $4 million per store. While I don’t have the facts and figured, have heard that some of the larger chains are circling the $1.5 - $2M mark. So their revenue per unit is much higher. The question will be can they expand beyond their mid-west base.
Link: Chicago Business
Story-2:: Pocket Cast Finds a New Home
Overview: Automattic, the parent company of Tumblr and WordPress.com, is buying the podcast app from a collective of public radio groups, including NPR and BBC Studios. Automattic didn’t disclose how much it will pay for Pocket Casts.
Why It Matters: Everyone and by everyone we mean, Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, SiriusXM, and probably more that we can’t even recount wants to get into the business of podcast (long-form spoken word). It is interesting that Tumblr and WordPress want to buy this product, with development shops in-house, figured they might just build their own. But who are we to judge. Either way, if you can’t tell by all the stories on podcasts and spoken word, everyone wants a piece.
Link: Tech Crunch
Story-3:: Say Less, Say More
Overview: Even the world’s largest social platform sees this as a possibility; Facebook announced Soundbites earlier this year, a forthcoming product also built around shareable, short audio clips. They all see what’s happening on TikTok — masses of people creating viral video clips — and want to repeat that success with just sound.
“I think the problem with RSS, when you look at podcasting, it’s like a decentralized technology that wasn’t made to be a social network”
Why It Matters: Second story of the day, that Multiple startups, including Beams, Quest, and Nowzad’s app Pludo are betting their efforts, and investors’ cash, that there’s the business to be had in this user-generated audio. The fact that bigger companies are buying up a podcast and spoken word platforms. It is interesting that these sorts form spoken word platforms are catching fire. One would assume that they are trying to be like the Tik Tok with the short form and community-oriented messages. From my standpoint, still struggling to see the vision here, but planning to download the app and check it out a bit more soon.
Story-4:: The NFL jumps to Twitter Spaces after initial Clubhouse partnership
Overview: Twitter has just renewed a partnership with the NFL to be able to show highlights and clips in Tweets, and in addition to create 20 exclusive live audio ‘Spaces’ over the course of the year, including current NFL players and other NFL talent talking about upcoming fixtures. This is a blow for Clubhouse, who had signed with the NFL for exclusive live ‘rooms’ around the draft earlier this year, but it strikes me that this is exactly what live audio needs - professionally planned and managed live content, rather than the often meandering chats that currently dominate.
Why It Matters: So this is the third-story on spoken word, so yeah, this is a thing. What is telling here is the fact that the NFL, MR. and MRS. SUNDAY (Technically, Thursday, some Fridays, Sunday and Monday). Has jumped back to Twitter this year after getting cosy with Clubhouse. Seriously, if you are Clubhouse, how are you not just kicking yourself for not selling or innovating faster. Seems like every platform is eating their lunch.
Story-5:: Let them eat cake
Overview: MPs have called for UK artists to earn their fair share of royalties by completely resetting the music streaming system. Currently, UK record labels generate £736.5 million from streaming, while artists only see around 16% of that.
Why It Matters: The BBC reported that while Spotify pays between just £0.002 and £0.0038 per stream, Apple Music pays around £0.0059. That means that per 100,000 streams, an artist only sees about £300 on average. YouTube pays the least at around 0.05 pence per stream.
Story-6:: Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini’s 5 Year Journey
Overview: An explicit business pod for people without a business degree — hosted by Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini. New episodes drop every Monday and Thursday.
In today's episode, she talks all about her last 5 years. From working out of @stoolpresidente's apartment to telling employees to stop sleeping together.
Why It Matters: Four years after Erika joined, in January 2020, Penn National Gaming acquired a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for around 163 million dollars. At the time of the acquisition, Barstool Sports had a valuation of $450 million. This is a far cry from the reported ~$75M it was worth when Erika started. If you can’t tell by now, we are big fans, the work she has done is just incredible. She has brought the WWE approach to characters and brands to the everyday web. The way that they are able to operate across channels, push merch, monetize, and continue to grow is incredible. The fact that she is also able to host her own Podcast and have it provide a ton of value to us and thousands of others is really something special. Looking forward to seeing where they head next.