April 28, 2023

Today's Topics

Hello! Jerry Springer, who was born in a London underground tube station in 1944, passed away yesterday aged 79 having completely changed the boundaries of what's acceptable — and popular — on TV. Today's charts explore:

  • Tech turnaround: Meta is leading a revival of big tech stocks in 2023.
  • Giant squid: Netflix is trying to recreate the success of Squid Game.
  • Hot water: Ocean temperatures are hitting record highs.
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Meta, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon all announced solid quarterly earnings this week as big tech continues to bounce back from 2022, a year in which the four shed nearly $3 trillion of market cap between them.

Every cloud...

Meta has had a tough time since its name-change 18 months ago. However, the social media giant reminded everyone that its apps are still wildly popular, reporting over 3 billion daily active users for the first time across its family of Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Also well-received was the return to revenue growth after 3 consecutive quarters of decline. That paves the way for Zuckerberg to continue investing in his biggest bets: AI and the much-malignedmetaverse.

Microsoft continues to march on. Revenue grew 7% year-over-year, and its Azure cloud-computing business held up better than expected, growing 27%. Elsewhere, the company’s partnership with OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, promises continuing innovations for the entire Microsoft suite. Those developments have contributed to a ~$600bn increase in MSFT's market cap since the beginning of 2023 — equivalent to gaining the value of about 10 Ubers.

Google’s owner Alphabet posted more measured results as the firm continues to play catch-up since the rollout of AI-powered search from Microsoft. The company’s ad revenue fell, although not as sharply as expected, and lower costs helped the bottom line beat expectations.

Amazon nearly delivered a win. The company’s shares initially soared as much as 10% on the back of a better-than-expected quarter… but cautious comments about its all-important key cloud division — where growth slowed to 16% from 37% last year — sparked fears for the future.


Netflix is on the hunt for its next Squid Game, announcing plans this week to pump a further $2.5 billion into South Korean content over the next 4 years after the streamer’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos met with President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday.

South Korea’s leader hailed the investment as a “large opportunity” for its entertainment sector, with Netflix clearly keen to keep mining the nation’s creative efforts after revealing that more than 60% of subscribers watched Korean titles in 2022.

Giant squidFrom 2019’s Parasite, the first Oscar-winning movie to come from the nation, to the wildly-successful K-pop boyband BTS and their legions of loyal devotees, Hallyu — or the Korean wave — has swept across the western world in recent years. Indeed, sales of cultural products rose to $1.7 billion in 2022, according to the Bank Of Korea, up 48%year-over-year.

But for Netflix specifically, nothing has yet matched up to global hit Squid Game. Indeed, with the exception of Spanish crime drama Money Heist, our analysis of Netflix’s Top 10 data reveals that no non-English shows (or English shows for that matter) have even come close to making the same global splash. Netflix execs will be hoping the $2.5 billion investment in K-content helps change that.

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Uncharted territory

Ocean temperatures have been hitting record highs in March and April. Data reveals that the average daily sea surface temperature has exceeded 21°C  — around 70 degrees Fahrenheit — for the first time in recorded history.

Scientists have pointed to these record-breaking temperature recordings to raise the alarm about the state of global warming, explaining that the figures, and any further heating, are starting to put the planet into “uncharted territory”.

In hot water

While the daily data recorded in the last few weeks is a new concern, ocean warming has been closely monitored for some time.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has gathered data on temperature anomalies, when the ocean’s surface temperature differs from the average, for over 120 years, helping to highlight just how hot our waters are getting. Deviations from the average ocean temperature (taken from 1901-2000)  have grown more extreme in the 21st century, with 9 of the 10 warmest average temperatures coming in the last decade.

Warmer oceans bring a whole host of environmental concerns and can cause sea levels to rise, lead to more regular and severe extreme weather events, and endanger sea life. A new study published just last week found that the ocean has gained almost as much heat in the last 15 years as it did in the preceding 45.

More Data

• Sign of the times: this San Fran office block was worth $300 million in 2019, now it may fetch 80%less than that.

Bluesky — the new social media platform backed by Jack Dorsey — saw user numbers rocket yesterday, adding 2x the amount from Wednesday, including Dril and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Norway just opened a 1.8-mile purpose-built cycle tunnel, the biggest in the world, in an effort to get more people out on their bikes.

• After the $900m+ box office smash that is the Super Mario Bros movie, the Italian plumber’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto is already teasing new Nintendo films.


• Great viz walkthrough from The Economist on how Hollywood’s losing the battle for China.

• Greener pastures: charting the rise of midweek golf.

• Mapping the most notable things about each European country, according to ChatGPT.

Off the charts: Which shoemaker had a rough week after investors found holes in its 2023 guidance and decision to push back net-zero ambitions by 10 years? Hint: we charted about the brand’s popularity with Gen Z back in September. [Answer below].

Answer here.

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