Tyler Perry’s Sora studio

February 26th, 2024

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Cash isn’t actually king (or queen). Business Insider reports that the credit card is the most preferred payment method for US consumers, followed by the debit card, and then cash. One reason? People tend to use cash for purchases under $10 or “hard-to-justify” items like that overpriced bottle of water at the airport. We “pay with card to remember and cash to forget” because the latter method doesn’t leave a paper trail. What are your habits?

In other news... Tyler Perry hits the brakes on his studio expansion, Reddit files to go public, and Highsnobiety is opening its first permanent retail location in Berlin.

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Madea, generated // Illustration by Kate Walker

Tyler Perry blames Sora for canceled studio expansion

The Future. Tyler Perry had been planning an $800 million expansion of his Atlanta studio, complete with 12 new soundstages for his many productions… until he witnessed OpenAI’s video-generating tool, Sora. Now, he no longer feels that expansion is necessary. If Perry really does end up leveraging Sora for his productions, other producers may give it a shot if the next Madea film looks like an actual blockbuster.

Chatbot crew
Tyler Perry recently had a come-to-AI moment.

  • Perry admitted to THR that he’s recently used AI on two of his films, which kept him from “having to sit through hours of aging makeup.”

  • He alleges that, after playing with the tech, he’s not sure if he wants to expand his studio because Sora may remove the necessity for his shows to build sets or even travel to locations.

  • He says that’ll have major cost-saving benefits for his studio but could also lead to major staff reductions — including fewer actors, crew members, and editors.

While Perry does plan on using the technology, he also stressed that every union — WGA, SAG, DGA, IATSE, etc. — should come together as one (with the help of Washington, D.C.) and figure out a framework to regulate its use to protect jobs.

Ironically, Perry opted out of being a WGA member years ago.

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Let the games begin // Illustration by  Kate Walker

Reddit’s IPO could introduce an ironic meme stock

The Future. Reddit’s upcoming IPO has all the makings of a wild business story — the first social media company public offering in years, a user base that was at the center of the biggest short squeeze in recent memory, and the inclusion of the biggest name in AI. Expect Reddit’s stock price to be on a rollercoaster all year long.

User power
Reddit’s IPO at a potential $5 billion valuation could create some stock market drama.

  • The company is offering a portion of available shares to 75,000 of its top users at the same price as institutional investors.

  • That’s likely because it knows that one of the top subreddits on its platform, the infamous and influential r/WallStreetBets, was started with the mission of democratizing investing.

  • But Reddit’s IPO prospectus warned investors that the company’s ability to become the ultimate meme stock could make its share price extremely volatile.

Additionally, the potential for Reddit to become a big stock has another wrinkle — OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was revealed as one of the company’s three largest shareholders (he even has more voting power than CEO Steve Huffman), and Reddit said it’ll makes hundreds of millions of dollars from licensing to AI companies like OpenAI and Google.

We’ll have to see how much Reddit’s power users like that.

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81.6% of you voted No in yesterday’s poll: Do you buy products recommended by influencers?

“I can’t say I’ve never done it, but it’s definitely not the norm. I try not to be ‘influenced’.”

“If it’s an accredited source, then I will.”

“Still don’t really understand influencers. Still don’t get what they ‘influence’.”

“Taking advice and recommendations is like getting medical information from a doctor!”


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Courtesy of Highsnobiety

Highsnobiety’s flagship store stocks up on brand partnerships

The Future. Influential fashion publication Highsnobiety is opening its first permanent retail store in Berlin on March 1st that’ll “bring all our digital projects to life,” according to CEO David Fisher. Considering that brand partnerships are one of the biggest revenue drivers of Highsnobiety, more retail brands may focus on curating experiences to sell products.

Fit strategy
Like its online store, Highsnobiety’s Berlin shop will have products from up to 100 different brands across luxury, streetwear, and beauty… and it also wants to be a hub of fashion experiences.

  • It’ll have numerous activations, including launches of the brand’s print magazine, brand-sponsored parties, and events for designers and local cultural leaders.

  • It’ll also do collabs around high-profile events in the city, including Berlin Art Week and the European Football Championships.

Highsnobiety believes that the community events will attract top brands to treat the store as the launchpad for products that connect with fashion and streetwear diehards.

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The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Tracy Chapman saw a major boost in song sales and streams after she did a duet of her 1988 single “Fast Car” with Luke Combs during the Grammys. Read More → billboard

  • Amazon denies that it’s shutting down its FAST service, Freevee. Read More → variety

  • Netflix’s Leave the World Behind started trending online because of AT&T’s widespread network outage — living without cell service is clearly apocalyptic. Read More → thr

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • MLB players aren’t happy with Nike’s new uniforms, which apparently rip easily and are nearly see-through in all the places you don’t want them to be. Read More → wsj

  • US lawmakers are calling for a ban on Temu shipments over concerns that the clothes may be made with forced labor. Read More → theinformation

  • eBay is hosting an auction of rare Pokémon cards and other Pokémon collectibles in celebration of Pokémon Day tomorrow. Read More → hypebeast

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Nvidia is the first chip firm to hit a $2 trillion valuation after its stock soared 60% this year alone. Read More → bloomberg

  • Real estate agents are resorting to Virtual Staging AI to stage homes, hoping to save money and their backs. Read More → techcrunch

  • Japan’s space agency turned to TAKARATOMY — the toymaker behind action figures for Zoids and Transformers — to build its latest Moon rover. Read More → fastcompany

Creator Economy

  • X may be ditching its grid-style photo display for a Threads-like carousel… which would be a bummer for meme creators. Read More → theverge

  • Nextdoor’s board is considering a sale of the platform. Read More → theinformation

  • Ninja is launching his first beverage brand — a cashew milk called “Nutcase.” Read More → tubefilter

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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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