25 May 2018 Courier Weekly

The age of loss-making companies.

PLUS: Sex ads – Targeting mums – Last mile delivery – Creative talent

Can Movie Pass keep going?

Movie Pass is fascinating and baffling investors and pundits.

The US company provides cinema tickets on a subscription basis, allowing users to see a different film every day for a monthly fee.

It’s been losing money since launch – but doesn’t seem too bothered about fixing it any time soon.

This piece from the Financial Times adds up the numbers behind the loss-making company. It argues that for the company to survive, cinemas need to understand the value Movie Pass delivers by getting people to see films more often.

Meanwhile, the New York Times looks at how we got into this age of loss-making companies.

Advertising’s pleasure problem.

In the US, commuters will have noticed adverts for blue pills popping up over the past few months.

Hims and Roman, two men’s wellness brands which sell erectile dysfunction pills, have been using outdoor advertising to promote their products. Meanwhile, posters for female sexual wellness products have been rejected by the Metropolitan Transport Authority (which controls advertising on the New York Subway) for ‘obscene’ content.

Female-focused sex tech company Unbound has rightly called out this double standard. Late last week, it emerged that its campaign had been a success: the MTA reversed its decision.

Advertising is often a struggle for brands to promote products involving sexual wellness. Facebook, for instance, does not allow ads for vibrators on its platform.

Channel Mum scores £3.5m in funding.

Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard has announced a £3.5m funding injection for her online video platform Channel Mum.

Freegard, who sold Netmums to French media brand Aufeminin Group in 2011, will use the cash to grow her team and keep on top of new video channels such as Facebook and Instagram.

Companies aimed at mums are potentially lucrative advertising platforms. For brands, new parents make great customers. They’re a captive audience, overwhelmed by the myriad options in food, clothing, education and toys they’ve never considered before.

There’s also a growing market for new mothers looking to connect with other parents. Mush and Peanut, apps launched in 2017, hook up mums that live near each other.

The last-mile-delivery race picks up speed.

US retail giant Kroger has announced a major partnership with UK grocery delivery firm Ocado. The news sent Ocado’s shares up by 44%.

Founded in 2000, Ocado has developed warehouse tech that that can automatically pick and fill grocery baskets in just five minutes. Its deal with Kroger will enable the firm to deliver more widely across the US.

Several smaller companies have been working on innovative ways to get products into customers’ hands. Delivery firm Quiqup has been trialling deliveries with runners, many of whom are Londoners training for sports events. It says delivery by jogger could be on offer in the next few months.

Tallinn-based Starship Technologies has been trialling self-driving delivery robots globally since 2014. Earlier this month, US-based Marble raised £7.5m to expand its intelligent courier robots programme.

Giving creative careers a rethink. 

This week in London, a medley of organisations tackling the lack of diversity in the creative industries gathered to share ideas at creative studio Ustwo.

Many young people – particularly those from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds – simply aren’t aware that they could create ideas for music videos or make video games for a living.

It’s a problem careers platform Lecture in Progress, from the team behind It’s Nice That, is hoping to solve with its job and studio profiles, podcast, newspaper and university visits.

Nepotism is also a challenge. ‘The creative industries are very much about who you know,’ said Nicole Crentsil, head of partnerships at Creative Mentor Network. To counter this, the organisation runs mentorship programmes pairing up young people with creative professionals to build their confidence and networks. Meanwhile, Jolt runs an 80-week paid internship programme with the likes of the BBC and M&C Saatchi.