Google, the landlord

December 19th, 2023

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Keep calm and party on. The holiday season is in full swing, and LA Gives Back brings you the chance to, well, give back. With a confirmed mega headliner, we bet y’all would have an epic night at the holiday dance music party on December 20th in Los Angeles. But you know what’s even cooler? 100% of everything they raise is going to charity. Don’t wait to get tix.

In other news… company towns are making a comeback, every Hollywood studio wants to be seen on Netflix, and “nowstalgia” is the new nostalgia.

Top Trends

YouTube → IF

X → Ziwe

Google → Jonathan Majors

Reddit → James McCaffrey

TikTok → “FTCU”

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Your friendly neighborhood corporation // Illustration by Kate Walker

Corporations are bringing back the company town

The Future. Some of the biggest American corporations in tech and entertainment are having big city dreams — developing a new generation of “company towns” where people can live and play just a stone’s throw from where they work. The projects are focused on alleviating the sky-high prices and lack of inventory in the housing market… but may end up being the innovation playgrounds that these companies have dreamed of for years.

Incorporating the Inc.
Brands are coming for your backyard.

  • Google is working on a community called North Bayshore in Mountain View, CA, that’ll have 7,000 housing units and another called Middlefield Park that’ll have 2,000 units.

  • Meta is building Willow Village (dubbed “Zucktown”) in Menlo Park, CA, that’ll have 1,700 housing units, a hotel, and plenty of retail.

  • Disney is developing 1,400 housing units across 80 acres in Kissimmee, FL, near Walt Disney World.

  • NBCUniversal is working on 1,000 affordable apartments and 16,000 square feet of retail space right next door to its theme park in Orlando, FL.

  • Elon Musk is building the city of Snailbrook outside of Austin, TX, for employees of his constellation of startups, including SpaceX, Tesla, and The Boring Co.

But the most ambitious of these projects is the “California Forever” project — which counts investors like LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, a16z’s Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon, and philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs — that hopes to develop Silicon Valley 2.0 in the middle of lots of farmland. 

That one may bring an entirely new meaning to “startup accelerator.”

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All roads lead to Netflix  // Illustration by Kate Walker

Netflix becomes the streaming superhighway again

The Future. After years of hoarding titles to build their own streaming services, every Hollywood studio is now licensing their movies and TV shows to Netflix to generate cash and reinvigorate their fandom. With these licensed titles commanding almost the same amount of engagement on Netflix as the streamer’s Originals, expect smaller studios to set a strategy where their project’s Netflix debut is its most important marketing moment.

The streaming champ
Everything’s returning to Netflix in the search for money and popularity.

  • Universal Pictures’ output deal with Netflix led to four of its films being on its Top 10 most-watched movies list in the same week.

  • Disney is sending over ABC hits like This Is Us and ESPN mainstays like the 30 for 30 docuseries — despite Bob Iger comparing the practice to “selling nuclear weapons technology” to a rival.

  • Warner Bros. Discovery, on an aggressive debt-paying mission, licensed its past decade of DC superhero films and classics from the HBO library… which are now hits on the platform.

  • Sony has a deal with Netflix to stream all of its theatrical titles, recently turning the comedy No Hard Feelings, which did okay at the box office, into a hit on the streamer.

Interestingly, the licensing deals aren’t exclusive — many titles are also playing on Amazon, Hulu, and basically anything willing to pay. Soon, you may be able to find an older movie on three or four platforms instead of just one… which could change the math for how audiences choose which platforms to subscribe to.

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It’s like meeting all the right people to help you grow but without spending decades finding them.


About to make a comeback?

Nowstalgia is nostalgia hitting lightspeed

The Future. Time moves so fast that we may be entering the era of “nowstalgia” — cycles of missing things that, in actuality, are pretty recent. This phenomenon could encourage brands to give their products a second life if they didn’t really take off during their initial release.

Coined by BBC’s Leah Carroll, nowstalgia is the phenomenon where culture or society moves so fast that people start to miss things the moment they can no longer do them or they’re no longer available.

  • That corresponds to the COVID pandemic — when the lockdowns hit, people immediately started to feel nostalgic for live music, going to the movies, and indoor dining.

  • Additionally, culture feels like it moves faster than ever, thanks to social media warping our perception of time — so things seem older than they really are.

Nowstalgia cycles may act as smaller societal movements within larger nostalgia cycles — which typically run in 20-to-30-year patterns (for example, Gen Z is feeling nostalgic for all things Y2K now), allowing adults who experienced a product or piece of entertainment as kids to share that love with their own kids.

That’s big business — a 2014 study found that people spend more on products and experiences that invoke nostalgia

Speaking of which… remember 2014? Good times.

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48% of you voted for Recharging in yesterday’s poll: How are you spending the rest of 2023?

“I retired from the 9 to 5 grind 11 years ago and dedicated my life to being an artist, so often working is PLAYING!”

“I get Christmas and New Year’s off but otherwise a forklift operator’s work is never done.”

“I’m a Director, and we’re Jewish, so it seems reasonable to work over the holidays and let my team members take time off.”

“Had Covid, injured my foot badly so I can’t do the physical exercises I usually do, had an 80th party.”

“Unloading all the stress from this year and not bringing any of that negativity into 2024.”

“None of these? I’m proposing to my girlfriend in 4 days.”


The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

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Fashion & E-Commerce

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Tech, Web3, & AI

  • OpenAI says its revamped board of directors can now overrule CEO Sam Altman on releasing a product if they deem it unsafe. Read More → bloomberg

  • Adobe is giving up on its $20 billion acquisition of Figma after regulators in the US and UK signaled it would necessitate an antitrust investigation. Read More → theverge

  • Zoom, one of the highest-flying startups during the pandemic, is being logged off the Nasdaq 100 after poor performance. Read More → yahoo

Creator Economy

In partnership with Shareholder Vote Exchange

  • TikTok In the Mix, its first livestreamed concert, was the most-streamed event on the platform this year — counting 9.6 million viewers. Read More → tubefilter

  • Nike is taking sneakerhead YouTuber Eban “Cedaz” Fox to court for allegedly marketing counterfeit kicks. Read More → complex

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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