Subscribers Are Dropping Dish Network, Plus Is Walmart Starting To Die A Very Slow Death?

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Congratulations, you’ve made it to Friday! (We’ll ignore that it was a shortened week for the moment.) To celebrate, take (and ace) this week’s Brew quiz for a chance to win some sweet Brew swag and a shout-out in an issue next week!
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“We’re losing over $1 billion a year in China” — A very candid Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber. The ridesharing company is engaged in an old-fashioned market share battle in China with local rival Didi Kuaidi, in which both services are aggressively cutting prices.

MARKET SNAPSHOT
Big Picture

  • The buck stops here: U.S. stocks broke their 3-day winning streak Thursday but still only dipped slightly, as the energy sector and Walmart’s disappointing earnings weighed on investor confidence

Alternatives to Watch

  • The Brazilian real plummeted against other Latin American currencies after the S&P downgraded the country’s already low-grade debt, as political and economic uncertainty reach new heights

Market Movers

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CORPORATE PRIMER

IBM Makes Moves

International Business Machines Corp. (yes, that’s what IBM stands for) is on a healthcare spending spree. This time, it’s a $2.6 billion acquisition of healthcare data services provider Truven Health Analytics, bringing IBM’s healthcare spending total for the year to $4 billion. The goal is for IBM to use Truven’s trove of patient data to provide clients with insightful analysis with the hopes of improving cost savings and medical treatment outcomes. IBM also hopes this and its other acquisitions will help revive 15 straight quarters of declining sales—yikes.

Fall-Mart

Walmart just logged a quarter it won’t soon forget. Let’s start with the good: the world’s largest retailer narrowly beat Q4 earnings expectations. And that’s about it for the good. Walmart missed revenue forecasts and saw a dip in same-store sales, and if you think that’s bad, it’s expecting zero sales growth in 2016. Hundreds of store closures, a strengthening dollar damaging international sales and the rise of online shopping have only hurt the family-owned business. Walmart very well may make a comeback, but maybe wait until 2017.

Subscribers Drop Dish

Can you think of the last time you saw a TV dish on someone’s roof? Neither can investors. After revealing a concerning drop in subscriptions and net income, shares of Dish Network plummeted over 6% yesterday. Dish continues to struggle with its core business—which could be a problem given the billions of dollars spent investing in wireless airways over the last few years (yes, the same airwaves that cell providers like Verizon and AT&T actually use). How much? To put it in perspective, Dish’s market value is $20 billion, and its “spectrum” is estimated to be worth $45 billion…that much.

Hyatt’s Road to Recovery

For more mixed earnings, look no further. Although revenue grew immensely, fourth quarter profits for Hyatt Hotels were below expectations. That can only mean one thing: a boatload of costs dragging down margins. This time, the costs came from a recent cyberattack on its customers’ payment cards. That means damage control time, and Hyatt is focusing its efforts on winning back the trust of its customer base. The company plans to open a record number of hotels this year, providing more options to travelers in more locations than ever.

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OTHER STORIES

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ECONOMIC CALENDAR

SNAPCHAT ADVERTISING DISAPPEARS

Remember when Snapchat first released advertising? The sneaky method of delivery (ads hiding between stories) is unique in the industry—and thus cost a pretty penny a year ago. But the company has fallen from grace, charging rates at a third of what they did a year ago. Here are the numbers:

  • Back in January 2015, a company was expected to pay $750,000 minimum for a one day ad. Now? That number has dropped to $50,000.
  • To be fair, comparable ads to the ones offered in January 2015 now cost at least $250,000, so the dropoff isn’t as steep.
  • Advertisers also don’t find Snapchat particularly attractive: it provides limited data on users, and most fall in too young of an age range (below 25) to warrant such hefty expenses. Snapchatters under 25: don’t be disheartened—less interest could mean ads start to disappear.

INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY

It’s a brainteaser that seems to be stumping the internet. Can you solve it?

(Answer)

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BUSINESS PERSON OF THE DAY

Michael Corbat is the CEO of Citigroup, a position he has held since 2012. Corbat graduated from Harvard (no big deal), played offensive guard for the football team and has worked for Citi (and its predecessor companies) his entire career. Yesterday was a big day for Corbat: it was announced that his 2015 pay increased 27% to $16.5 million during a year in which the bank’s profits more than doubled.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Airline profits may be at record highs, but don’t tell that to air travelers: complaints against airlines rose 30% in 2015, with American Airlines taking the cake for most complaints and Spirit Airlines recording the highest rate of complaints. Better luck next year?

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