Build-A-Bear will debut a Baby Yoda stuffed animal - Business Insider - Business Insider

Build-A-Bear will debut a Baby Yoda stuffed animal - Business Insider - Business Insider


Build-A-Bear will debut a Baby Yoda stuffed animal - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 14 Jan 2020 12:00 AM PST

Baby Yoda is coming to Build-A-Bear.

Toys featuring the instantly popular character from "The Mandalorian" have been in high demand since the show debuted on Disney Plus in November. A Baby Yoda toy from Funko quickly became a top-selling action figure on Amazon in early December — even though customers who preordered the toy will not receive it until May.

"I'm excited to share we will be one of the first companies to provide the digital and internet phenomenon who is trending higher than all the presidential candidates combined," Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John said during a presentation on Tuesday at the ICR Conference in Orlando, Florida.

"We now will have The Child, also known as Baby Yoda," John added.

baby yoda build a bear
Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John shows off a Baby Yoda stuffed animal on Tuesday.
Kate Taylor/Business Insider

Holding up a Baby Yoda stuffed animal to show the audience, John said Baby Yoda would be available at Build-A-Bear workshops in the next few months.

"It's great, again, to be in business with best-in-class partners," John said, adding that Build-A-Bear, Disney, and Lucasfilm worked quickly to make the Baby Yoda character a reality.

"We started this process almost with the first episode," John said.

High-profile partnerships are crucial to Build-A-Bear's business. John said on Tuesday that while historically much of Build-A-Bear's business has been geared toward children, almost half of its sales now are items intended for tweens, teens, and adults. John added that the chain has seen significant growth in adults shopping online and seeking out products produced in partnership with companies like Disney, Lucasfilm, and Warner Bros.

Cards Against Humanity bought ClickHole from G/O Media - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 03 Feb 2020 05:25 PM PST

  • Cards Against Humanity bought satire website ClickHole from G/O Media, as first reported by BuzzFeed News.
  • As part of the all-cash deal, ClickHole's employees will become majority-owners of the site, according to BuzzFeed.
  • The card game company will support ClickHole financially, but will let it operate independently.
  • ClickHole has had multiple owners since the site was started by The Onion in 2014 — most recently, the same private equity firm that has battled with writers at Deadspin over editorial independence.
  • "ClickHole's treasure is beautiful and not for sale. It consists of gold, jewels, and other priceless and gorgeous gems and metals. For almost a year, ClickHole's treasure was on vacation, but now it's back," a spokesperson for Cards Against Humanity told Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Cards Against Humanity, the company behind the popular card game, has purchased humor website ClickHole from G/O Media, as first reported by BuzzFeed News on Monday.

The all-cash deal will involve ClickHole's employees becoming majority owners of the site, which will be financially supported by Cards Against Humanity but retain editorial independence, according to BuzzFeed. The Onion, which created ClickHole in 2014, will reportedly remain part of G/O Media.

"ClickHole's treasure is beautiful and not for sale. It consists of gold, jewels, and other priceless and gorgeous gems and metals. For almost a year, ClickHole's treasure was on vacation, but now it's back," a spokesperson for Cards Against Humanity told Business Insider.

G/O Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

G/O Media, which includes media properties including Gizmodo, Deadspin, and ClickHole's parent, The Onion, is wholly owned by private equity firm Great Hill Partners, after passing hands from previous owner Univision in 2019.

Under CEO Jim Spanfeller, appointed by Great Hill Partners to lead G/O Media, the company has faced unrest by employees over its perceived lack of commitment to editorial independence, eventually leading to mass resignations by writers at popular sports site Deadspin.

"Our goal is to take some of the pressure off of them so they can shake some of these managerial shakes [sic] ups they've had and just focus on making amazing comedy," Cards Against Humanity cofounder Max Temkin told BuzzFeed.

On a final, historical note, Elon Musk himself once unsuccessfully tried to buy The Onion and Clickhole in 2014, before ultimately launching an aborted humor project himself called "Thud!" In 2018, after news of Musk's previous interest in the company was first made public, ClickHole published a satirical story called "I Did Everything I Could To Buy ClickHole, But Their Editorial Integrity Won Out Over My Billion-Dollar Offers, And I Respect Them Even More For That (By Elon Musk)."

YouTube ad revenue was 9x more than Google paid to buy it - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 03 Feb 2020 05:04 PM PST

  • Alphabet, Google's parent company, broke out YouTube's advertising revenue for the first time ever on Monday, and revealed the video-sharing site brought in $15 billion in 2019.
  • YouTube's ad revenue is around nine times more than the $1.65 billion Google spent to acquire the platform in October 2006.
  • At the time, YouTube was only 1.5 years old and had only 65 employees. Google's CEO at the time called YouTube "the next step in the evolution of the Internet."
  • However, Alphabet also said that "most" of YouTube's advertising revenue goes back to creators on the platform, making it hard to estimate how much of that cash flows back to the company as profit.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

YouTube has revealed its advertising revenue surpassed $15 billion in 2019 — which is nine times more than Google paid for the video-sharing website 14 years ago.

Alphabet, Google's parent company, broke out the long-awaited revenue numbers for YouTube for the first time ever on Monday in its earnings report on the 2019 fiscal year. Ads on the video site now comprise about 9% of Alphabet's overall revenue, which totaled $162 billion last year. 

The breakout for YouTube's numbers marks the end of a long period of silence: It's the first time Google has reported these figures since the YouTube acquisition closed in 2006. Alphabet similarly reported Google Cloud revenues for the first time, which came out to about $2.6 billion in the quarter.

Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said in a press release around the earnings report that the reason for the sudden disclosure is to "to provide further insight into our business and the opportunities ahead." The disclosures also came as Alphabet's overall quarterly revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations

Those revenue figures don't tell the entire story, however — Porat said on a post-earnings conference call with Wall Street analysts that "most" of that revenue goes to YouTube's roster of creators, making it hard to estimate how much of it flows back to the company as profit. Regardless, however, the figure highlights the exponential growth of the video platform in just 15 years of existence.

YouTube has grown to become one of the most popular sites for creating and sharing videos on the internet. YouTube now has more than 2 billion monthly users visiting the video-sharing platform. They watch over 250 million hours each day of their favorite vlogs, music videos, sports highlights, and more.

Google bought YouTube in October 2006 when the platform had only 65 employees. At the time, YouTube was still in its infancy: three early employees at PayPal had launched it a year-and-half earlier out of an office above a California pizzeria.

The acquisition of YouTube was spearheaded by early Google employee Susan Wojcicki — now the CEO of YouTube. Wojcicki has credited a video of two boys lip-syncing to the Backstreet Boys with convincing her that it would be worth it for Google to invest in user-generated content by purchasing YouTube.

Wojcicki successfully pleaded the potential of YouTube to Google's cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who then offered $1.65 billion to buy the site. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google at the time, called YouTube "the next step in the evolution of the Internet."

New Google service mails you 10 of your photos every month for $8 - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 03 Feb 2020 08:44 AM PST

  • Google is testing a new service that automatically sends people hard copies of 10 photos from their camera roll, selected by its AI.
  • The service costs $8 per month and is currently only available to users in the US.
  • With the pilot, Google is testing whether there's a market for physical copies of images that may feel more permanent than photos stored in the cloud.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Google is rolling out a new service for those seeking the permanence of printed photos without the actual labor of printing them out.

For $7.99 per month, Google will mail users hard copies of 10 AI-selected images from their Google Photos albums every 30 days, 9to5Google first reported.

People who sign up for the service can direct Google's AI to choose photos from one of three categories: mostly people and pets, mostly landscapes, or "a little bit of everything." Subscribers will also have the option to edit the 4-by-6-inch photos before they go to print.

The service reflects an effort by Google to grow its Cloud Print service with a subscription model. Google's Cloud Print debuted in 2017, offering hardcover and softcover photo albums and canvas prints, as well as direct printing at outlets like CVS and Walmart.

The company is currently piloting the service for select users in the US, according to 9to5Google.

Artist creates fake traffic jams on Google Maps with wagon of phones - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 03 Feb 2020 09:28 AM PST

  • An artist pulled 99 smartphones around Berlin in a red wagon, tracking how the gadgets affected Google Maps' traffic interface.
  • Wherever the phones went, Google Maps showed a traffic jam, displaying a red line and routing users around the area.
  • Google Maps predicts the density of cars in an area by pinging smartphones that use the app.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

An artist "hacked" Google Maps' traffic display — and all it took was a red wagon and 99 smartphones.

Simon Weckert toted the pile of smartphones down empty streets in Berlin. Every street he traversed suddenly appeared as a traffic-heavy red zone on Google Maps, rerouting drivers to avoid the streets, as shown in Weckert's YouTube video documenting the results.

Weckert essentially gamed the mechanism Google Maps uses to predict traffic, he said in an email to Business Insider.

A Google representative told Business Insider that the app determines traffic by continuously pinging smartphones that use location services and by using "contributions from the Google Maps community."

"We've launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia and Egypt, though we haven't quite cracked traveling by wagon," the representative said. "We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time."

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