Saturday, August 21, 2021

 WWE's Khan Following Disney's Lead in Leveraging IP for Growth

_Editor Note: JohnWallStreet will be on vacation next week. In his place, the newsletter will deliver a five-part series taking readers inside BSE Global, owners of the Nets and the Barclays Center, among other holdings. _

On Wednesday, WWE announced Spotify is now the exclusive home of the company’s audio content—including new podcasts they will develop in partnership with The Ringer (Spotify acquired Bill Simmons’ digital media and podcast outfit in 2020). WWE also announced plans for its second NFT release (featuring John Cena) and disclosed MLB-branded championship title belts will be coming to market in 2022.

Leveraging intellectual property to drive revenue is nothing new for the sports and entertainment giant (see: Hasbro figures, Tonka Wrestling Buddies, Technōs WWF WrestleFest). But since president Nick Khan joined the company last August, WWE has worked to monetize its exclusive IP beyond toys, T-shirts and memorabilia. “One of the key reasons for Disney’s success is their unparalleled abundance of intellectual property,” Khan said. “If you look at our intellectual property, which we are quite proud of, it is largely untapped.”

Since April, Khan hired Scott Zanghellini, Alex Varga and Samantha Greenberg, all formerly of CAA, to lead a new revenue strategy and development group focused on expanding the business and reaching new audiences.

Friday, August 20, 2021

 15:01 UTC Friday, 20 August 2021

Elon Musk said he would probably launch a humanoid robot prototype next year dubbed the “Tesla Bot”, which is designed to do “boring, repetitious and dangerous” work.

The billionaire chief executive of the electric carmaker Tesla said the robot, which would be about 5ft 8in (1.7m) tall and weigh 125 pounds (56kg), would be able to handle tasks such as attaching bolts to cars with a spanner or picking up groceries at stores.

Speaking at Tesla’s AI Day event, Musk said the robot could have “profound implications for the economy” by plugging gaps in the workforce created by labour shortages. He said it was important that the new machine was not “super expensive”.

He described it as an extension of Tesla’s work on self-driving cars, and the robot would use the same computer chip and navigation system with eight cameras.

But Musk gave no indication of having made concrete progress on actually building such a machine. At the point when a normal tech launch might feature a demonstration of a prototype model, the South African entrepreneur instead brought out an actor in a bodysuit, who proceeded to breakdance to a soundtrack of electronic dance music.

Companies on the cutting edge of robotics, such as former Google subsidiary Boston Dynamics, have produced bipedal robots. But the clunky, heavy machines they have demonstrated bear little resemblance to the svelte designs Musk claimed Tesla could build.

The announcement by Musk, who has a penchant for hyping new product launches, comes amid an investigation into the safety of Tesla’s full self-driving software.

On Monday, the US government opened an investigation into Tesla’s driver-assistance system, known as Autopilot, after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

The investigation covers 765,000 vehicles, almost all Tesla has sold in the US since the start of the 2014 model year. In the crashes identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of the investigation, 17 people were injured and one was killed.

The NHTSA said it had identified 11 crashes since 2018 in which Teslas on Autopilot or traffic-aware cruise control had hit vehicles at scenes where first responders used warning hazards such as flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

 By Emily Bary

Published: Aug. 11, 2021, 2:25 p.m. EDT

Shares of Splunk Inc. (SPLK) are up more than 3% in Wednesday afternoon trading after UBS analyst Karl Keirstead upgraded the software stock to buy from neutral. Keirstead is upbeat about the company following conversations with industry partners and customers, with a "stable" tone "namely about competition, the potential for upside in security-related demand and good Splunk Cloud traction," he wrote. "Importantly, this is against a backdrop of continued mixed/cautious Street sentiment, making the stock set-up attractive in our view." While there's some concern on Wall Street that Splunk could be displaced by competitors, Keirstead found that risk to be "exaggerated" based on his industry checks. He raised his price target to $175 from $137 on Splunk's stock, which has gained 28% over the past three months as the S&P 500 (^GSPC) has risen 7%.