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Context Collapse: 🧠The Weekstarter 8/7/23
The screen is not the map is not the teritory: CC #227
In this issue: Dude Perfect’s media empire/Antarctic newspapers/Post-pandemic certification problems/Working at Twitter/Hotel scent marketing + more.
Welcome to Context Collapse, the world’s best comms newsletter. I’m Neal Ungerleider. I run Ungerleider Works and used to work as a reporter for Fast Company, write op-eds for the LA Times, and work as a senior copywriter for R/GA. This newsletter helps readers navigate the weird new world of media and gleefully ignores all the conventional wisdom about journalism, public relations, marketing, and advertising.
Greetings from Ungerleider Haus, greetings from Chicago. Here’s what’s on the radar in 5-4-3-2…
“Dude Perfect had revenue of about $25 million last year, up from roughly $20 million in 2021, said a person familiar with the business. Much of that came from business ventures outside of YouTube, such as live performances and branded products such as sweatshirts and footballs. YouTube’s platform pays creators a percentage of the advertising revenues generated from their videos.”
“Until the end of April, Lipuma was the editor of The Antarctic Sun, the biggest and longest-running paper on the globe’s least-populated continent. When we first speak, over Zoom in January, she is seated in a conference room that looks like every other conference room. Except this one’s nestled in a peninsula jutting from an island at the edge of Antarctica, on McMurdo, which comprises 146 buildings and around a thousand summer residents—and is by far the largest settlement on the continent.”
“Since 2020, when the pandemic began and remote learning moved students out of schools and into virtual classrooms, the pass rates on national certifications and assessment exams taken by engineers, office workers, soldiers and nurses have all fallen.”
“I tweeted for years into the void for the love of it like many of you, but after selling my startup to Twitter in 2020 I finally got to see it from the inside. Up close it was both amazing and terrible, like so many other companies and things in life.”
“The nostalgia inspired by a smell is hopefully a pleasant experience, but for hotels using signature scents, it’s also happening by design. By tapping into the power of scent, hotels can set the mood, create memories and stay top of guests’ minds when they leave. When it comes to memory, there is no sense more closely linked than smell.”
“NEW: Major exodus of senior Vice editorial leaders, per an internal note, incl Katie Drummond (SVP of Global News and Entertainment), Jason Koebler (EIC of Motherboard), and Matthew Schnipper (senior director of global news operations)”
“YouTube is running a new test to auto-generate video summaries with the use of AI. As noted on the support page, the summaries have begun appearing on the watch and search pages, but are only available for a limited number of English-language videos and viewers. […] No screenshots of the experiment were shared, so we’re not sure how viewers will differentiate a user-created video summary from one that was written by AI.”
“CAA has signed longtime Roblox content creator KreekCraft for representation in all areas. The 26-year-old has been making videos on YouTube since 2014, and transitioned from early Minecraft uploads to Roblox in 2016.”
“DeHart writes that economic and political conditions relating to a society’s “capacity to record and consume music” appear to be better predictors for metal’s popularity than religiosity or self-satisfaction. Mellander, who teaches at the Jönköping International Business School in Sweden, attributes the surplus of Scandinavian metal bands to the high-quality (and compulsory) music training taught in Scandinavian schools, which — as her colleague told Quartz — “created a generation with the musical chop to meet metal’s technical demands.”
“I’m no stranger to cold messages. I’ve sent a lot of them in my career (and I still do). For sales, for PR, for co-marketing, to source guest speakers, to pitch my colleague or executive for a speaking opportunity, and to shoot my shot for career opportunities. And I usually get a response. Overall, here’s what I do.”
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