July 1, 2022

Today's Topics

Hi, we've got 3 charts for you today:

  • Stranger Things. Netflix has a mega-hit on its hands... now it just needs a few more.
  • They had us in the first half. Stocks have had the worst start to a year since 1970.
  • Beyond Help? Bed Bath & Beyond is struggling.
Not yet a subscriber? Sign up free below.

Netflix needs a few more Stranger Things

Data out this week suggested that new Netflix subscribers were cancelling their subscriptions at higher rates than competitors — a rare thing for the streaming giant that has historically held onto its subscribers better than rivals.

That's just the latest piece of bad news for Netflix, which has had a terrible year so far, and it heaps the pressure on the second part of Stranger Things 4 that's coming out today.

Stranger Things 4 has become Netflix's most widely viewed show and has even catapulted the earlier seasons of Stranger Things into Netflix's global top 10 lists (visualized above). In fact as of today each of the four series of the show have spent the last month or so inside the top 10 for English TV titles, as viewers catch up on previous seasons.

A global mega-hit like Stranger Things is exactly what Netflix needs after the company announced that it had lost subscribers for the first time ever earlier this year. The problem is Netflix needs another few mega-hits considering it spent $17bn on content just last year.In that context, Netflix's decision to hold back the final 2 episodes of Stranger Things makes a lot more sense — anyone looking to cancel might just wait those extra few weeks.

They had us in the first half

That's a wrap for the first half of the year.

And it was one to forget for equity investors, as the flagship S&P 500 Index declined 20.6% in value, putting 2022 off to the worst start for 52 years, when the index fell 21% in 1970. Before that you have to go back to 1962 when stocks fell 23.5% in the first half of the year — a crash which became known as the Kennedy Slide.

Where do we go from here?

The stock market is not the economy, but investors do try to anticipate what's coming down the road — and JPMorgan analysts suggested a few weeks ago that the movement in stocks implies an 85% chance that the US economy does go into recession — and some high-profile investors already think we're in one.

Trying to predict what stock markets do next is a notoriously humbling endeavor, but the historical data is reasonably optimistic. Of the 23 times that stocks have fallen in the first half of the year they've gone on to rise in the second half of the year on 12 occasions.

Not yet a subscriber? Sign up free below.

Bed Bath And... Bust?

Bed Bath & Beyond is ditching its CEO after another lackluster quarter that saw the ailing retailer's sales drop by 25% relative to this time last year.

After 3 years at the helm, the strategy of outgoing CEO Mark Tritton — who had focused on switching out branded goods for private-label products and cleaning up crowded stores — just hasn't worked. The once venerable retailer may not be bankrupt yet, but time is against the company, and investors don't appear to be holding much faith — the company's share price is down 68% this year and the market cap of the company is now just ~$400m, a tiny fraction of the $5-7bn in sales the company is likely to record this year.

Falling sales just wasn't something Bed Bath & Beyond was used to. The chain grew from $167m in annual sales in 1992, to more than $12bn at its peak in 2018. But just as things were slowing down naturally, with store closures aiming to optimize the company's portfolio, COVID hit. Months of diminished footfall, supply chain problems and demand that never bounced back have taken their toll — with some reports that stores are even cutting down on air conditioning in a bid to lower costs.

More Data

1) The COVID shift — interesting county by county map of how Americans moved during the pandemic.

2) Our friends at The Pudding have a great interactive story on how artists earn on music streaming platforms.

3) It's everywhere: inflation in the Euro Zone has hit 8.6%, leaving the ECB likely to make its first rate hike for 11 years.

4) If you like Chartr, you'll love Trendlines. Written by data scientists with access to proprietary survey data, Trendlines uncovers cultural and consumer insights you won't find anywhere else in its twice-monthly free newsletter.**

5) One for tennis fans (it is Wimbledon after all). Should players with big serves throw caution to the wind and hit two first serves? A data scientist simulated 1 million service games to find out.

6) Interesting survey data from Charles Schwab shows that 77% of Gen Z would invest in companies that align with their personal values, while only 60% of the Baby Boomer generation felt the same way.

7) A couple bought a home in Seattle only to find out that it would cost $27,000 to get access to the internet.

**This is sponsored content.

We're a fully bootstrapped, independent media company. If you enjoyed this data-driven newsletter, sharing it with your friends helps us out a lot.
Not yet a subscriber? Sign up free below.

Recent newsletters