☕️ Netflix hikes prices

Netflix's standard plan is now more expensive than HBO Max...
January 15, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Athletic Greens

Good morning. The NFL's Super Wild Card Weekend has arrived. Here's a quick rundown of the schedule in case you're like us and need to plan your entire weekend around football:

Today (all times ET)

  • Raiders at Bengals: 4:30pm (NBC)
  • Patriots at Bills: 8:15pm (CBS)

Tomorrow

  • Eagles at Buccaneers: 1pm (Fox)
  • 49ers at Cowboys: 4:30pm (CBS and Nickelodeon)
  • Steelers at Chiefs: 8:15pm (NBC)

Monday

  • Cardinals at Rams: 8:15pm (ABC/ESPN)

Most importantly, go Eagles!

Neal Freyman, Matty Merritt

MARKETS

Nasdaq

14,893.75

S&P

4,662.85

Dow

35,911.81

10-Year

1.792%

Bitcoin

$43,325.74

Wynn

$91.47

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 6:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks have hit the court this year like a basketball team that hasn't practiced in a month, closing lower each of the first two weeks of 2022. Casino stocks such as Wynn rejoiced after gambling mecca Macau, in a highly anticipated decision, said it wouldn't reduce the number of licenses there.
  • Geopolitics: The US said it had "very credible" evidence Russia was sending operatives into eastern Ukraine to stage an incident that would give Russian President Vladimir Putin cover to begin an invasion of the country. Russia has amassed about 100,000 troops at the border.

MEDIA

Netflix is raising prices

A scene from Don't Look UP Netflix

Netflix announced its first price bump in North America since October 2020, which is a tough break for whoever's Netflix account you're using.

The details for US customers:

  • The basic plan is going up by $1 to $9.99/month.
  • The standard plan (the company's most popular) is being raised by $1.50 to $15.49.
  • The premium plan is increasing by $2 to $19.99.

The price hikes will roll out to new subscribers immediately, while existing subscribers will be notified 30 days before they have to fork over the higher monthly rate.

Netflix's strategy

Developing high-quality programming is expensive—for the amount they paid the Don't Look Up cast, they could have blasted the dang comet and saved the planet.

And with subscriber growth slowing in North America, the company thinks the best approach for filling its content piggy bank is to squeeze some more quarters out of its existing customers.

  • Netflix had earmarked $17 billion to spend on original and acquired content in 2021, and analysts expect the company's content budget has only grown more this year.

With a stream of recent hits like Red Notice and Squid Game, and much-hyped, upcoming sports documentaries on the PGA and tennis, Netflix thinks it's providing enough value to subscribers to raise prices and not trigger a mass exodus to the competition. Investors agreed, sending Netflix shares higher after the announcement.

  • Here's how bullish Netflix is on its pricing power: For the first time ever, its standard plan ($15.49) is now more expensive than HBO Max's ($15/month).

Looking ahead…Netflix will likely elaborate on its pricing decision when it reports its Q4 earnings next Thursday. Analysts expect the company to have added 8.5 million new signups to its existing global total of 213.6 million.—NF

        

COVID

You'll find your Covid test in the employee portal

A Delta Air Lines plane lands near a COVID-19 testing sign at Los Angeles International Airport Mario Tama/Getty Images

Access to a cramped workout room and unlimited Cheez-Its are no longer the pinnacle of workplace perks: Major companies like Google, JPMorgan, BlackRock, and Morgan Stanley are now laying out robust free Covid testing options for employees.

While some employers are beefing up testing capacity to bring staff back into physical offices safely, others are offering remote employees highly coveted at-home tests as a wellness benefit.

  • Google, which signed a deal with the same company that provides testing for the NBA, will cover the cost of special rapid tests that retail for a total of $2,161 per person for all full-time employees.
  • Bankers at Morgan Stanley are allowed four free BinaxNOW tests every two weeks, which retail for roughly $40.

While office suites are flush with tests, classrooms…aren't. Schools attempting to return to in-person instruction have faced frustrating testing scenarios, like hours-long wait times and shipments of expired tests. Students in NYC, Michigan, Boston, and Chicago walked out this week over insufficient Covid precautions, including a lack of testing.

Looking ahead…the Biden administration said US households can order up to four free at-home Covid tests from the website COVIDTests.gov starting next Wednesday. This ain't White House Prime, though: Shipping will likely take 7–12 days.—MM

        

AUDIO

Health leaders call Rogan's pod the real 'Fear Factor'

Joe Rogan Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Many public health experts think Spotify's aura is "flashing red siren irresponsible." 270 US doctors, scientists, health care workers, and professors wrote an open letter to Spotify, criticizing the streaming service for allowing its biggest star, Joe Rogan, to spread Covid misinformation on his ultra-popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

The letter references a specific episode with virologist Dr. Robert Malone, who falsely told Rogan's 11 million listeners that hospitals are financially incentivized to attribute deaths to Covid and that leaders have "hypnotized" the public into believing the vaccines work.

Calling the Malone interview "a sociological issue of devastating proportions," the health experts urged Spotify to develop a policy to curb the spread of misinformation—since it does not appear to have one currently. YouTube, by comparison, yanked a video of the Malone episode from its platform shortly after it was posted for violating its rules.

Big picture: Spotify locked in the exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience in 2020 with a rumored $100 million deal, and the headaches have been as big as the price tag. At an all-hands staff meeting last September, CEO Daniel Ek reportedly told employees he had held 10 meetings with groups and individuals who want to see Rogan off the platform.—MM

        

TOGETHER WITH ATHLETIC GREENS

Here's the scoop on having a healthy new year, every year

Athletic Greens

Healthy New Year's resolutions are great, but incorporating better, simple habits beyond January can take some work…unless you have AG1 by Athletic Greens, that is.

Just one daily scoop of AG1 = an easy, healthy routine that can help you start your day—and your year—off right.

Full of vitamin C, zinc citrate, ashwagandha, and 71 other vitamins, minerals, and whole-food sourced ingredients, AG1 is the foundational health drink designed to cover your nutritional bases without the need to take multiple products.

Oh, and it tastes delish.

And if immune or gut health is top of mind for you in 2022 (you're definitely not the only one), you'll be psyched to know that one scoop of AG1 supports your immune system, digestive health, energy, focus, and healthy aging.

Ready to make routines, not just resolutions? Start here with their special New Years offer.

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

Silicon Valley opening credit scene HBO

Stat: When Americans aren't playing pickleball, they're starting companies. A record 5.4 million new business applications were filled in 2021, the US Census Bureau reported this week. That's up from the previous record of 4.4 million in 2020, and way higher than in pre-Covid times (3.5 million in 2019).

Quote: "CEOs shouldn't be crybabies about it. They should just deal with it."

JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon is playing the world's smallest violin for the bank executives who complain about paying their employees more due to inflation. Still, those CEOs are probably right to be concerned—banks that reported their earnings yesterday warned that higher costs would eat into profitability, causing their shares to tumble.

Read: Sometimes, life stinks. So this guy invented the nasal ranger. (New York Times)

        

CARTOON

Saturday sketch

Cartoon of various morning routines Max Knoblauch

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • It's just "bro" now: Martin Shkreli, aka Pharma Bro, has been banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered to pay investors back the $64.6 million in profits he earned from jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug.
  • The investment giant BlackRock said it ended the year with more than $10 trillion in assets under management. That's 13 zeros.
  • Polish scientists identified a gene that doubles the risk of becoming severely ill due to Covid.
  • Tesla roundup: Elon Musk said that some Tesla merch can be bought with dogecoin, sending the coin's price higher. Tesla's also reportedly delaying production of its Cybertruck to early 2023.

TOGETHER WITH DOMINI IMPACT INVESTMENTS

Domini Impact Investments

Investors care about emissions. These days, impact investing is everywhere, because investors are concerned about issues like the current state of the environment; younger generations especially want to put their money where the sustainability is. That's just one insight from this national poll by Domini Impact Investments. You can learn more about the state of sustainable investing and explore the Domini Impact Equity Fund, here

BREW'S BETS

One last call: We want to help you achieve your New Year's resolutions. Share your goals with us, and we'll give you some resources to help achieve them.

Weekend conversation starters:

GAMES

Brew Crossword: Stay tuned

Brew Crossword promo image

TV fans—okay, that's pretty much everyone—are going to love today's puzzle, which is a little less challenging than usual. Play it here.

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✳︎ A Note From Domini Impact Investments

The Domini Funds are not insured, are subject to certain risks, and are available only to US investors. Call 800-225-FUND for a prospectus containing this and other information. Read it carefully. You may lose money. Please review full legal disclosure here. DSIL Investment Services LLC (DSIL) distributor 12/21.

         

Written by Neal Freyman and Matty Merritt

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