‘Maus’ is Amazon bestseller after Tennessee faculty ban

“Maus,” the decades-old graphic novel about the effects of the Holocaust on a family, has become an Amazon bestseller as part of a backlash to the news this week that it was banned by a Tennessee school board.

The McMinn County board says it took that step on Jan. 10 because of a handful of curse words and other aspects of “Maus” that it found upsetting, including “its depiction of violence and suicide.”

The board’s decision on the 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Art Spiegelman, which had been a key part of McMinn’s eighth-grade curriculum, was unanimous.

“The Complete Maus” on Friday held the No. 1 spot among Amazon’s bestsellers in the categories of fiction satire, and comics and graphic novels, and the no. 7 spot overall for all books.

“Mouse I,” an earlier published book that is the first part of “The Complete Maus,” was the No. 5 bestselling book on Amazon. The second part of the story, “Mouse II” what the no 1 bestseller in the European history category.

In addition to leading to a flood of demand for the book on Amazon, the McMinn board’s ban spurred other people to make the book more accessible to readers.

One of them, Professor Scott Denham at Davidson College in North Carolina, is offering McMinn County students in the eighth grade and high school an online class on “Mouse.

“I have taught Spiegelman’s books many times in my courses on the Holocaust over many years,” Denham says on his website.

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Richard Davis, owner of the Nirvana Comics bookstore in Knoxville, Tenn., is offering loans of “The Complete Maus” to any student.

Davis, whose store is located within 15 miles of McMinn County, also has set up a GoFundMe campaign to buy more “Maus” copies to be loaned and possibly ultimately donated to students. That effort had raised more than $30,000 by late Friday, more than three times its original $10,000 target.

“We’re getting requests from parents all over the country, even Europe, asking for copies,” said Davis.

He believes the surprisingly strong response reflects the view that “That’s not what we do in America: ‘We don’t ban books.'”

“It triggered a very American response,” he said.

One donor on the page wrote: “Banned books are the without fail among the most important, and ‘Maus,’ especially right now, is very, very important.”

Cartoonist Art Spiegelman attends the French Institute Alliance Francaise’s “After Charlie: What’s Next for Art, Satire and Censorship at Florence Gould Hall on February 19, 2015 in New York City.

Mark Sagliocco | Getty Images

The book’s author told CNBC in an email: “I’m heartened by reader responses, and the local responses you mentioned.”

“The schoolboard could’ve checked with their book-banning predecessor, [Russia President] Vladimir Putin: he made the Russian edition of Maus illegally in 2015 (also with good intentions—banning swastikas) and the small publisher sold out immediately and has had to reprint repeatedly,” Spiegelman wrote.

“The Streisand effect struck again,” he added, referring to the phenomenon — named after superstar singer Barbra Streisand — of an effort to ban something actually causing increased public awareness of that thing.

Spiegelman, 73, also told CNBC that his lecture agent is “trying to coordinate a public/Zoom event for the McMinn area where I will … talk and take questions about Maus with local citizens (hopefully teachers, students, clergy, etc) in the next couple of weeks.”

The school board’s president didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the book’s increased sales or Spiegelman’s comments.

The McMinn ban was not widely known until Wednesday, when a local online news outlet, The Tennessee Holler, publicized it.

The book, which won a Pulitzer in 1992, tells the story of Spiegelman’s parents’ time in Nazi death camps, the mass murder of other Jews, and his mother’s suicide years later.

In “Maus,” groups of people are drawn as different kinds of animals: Jews are mice, Poles are pigs, and Nazi Germans are cats.

Minutes of the McMinn school board meeting that led to the book being banned show that while some parents said they supported the idea of ​​teaching about the Holocaust, they had problems with some profanity in the book. They also had an issue with an image showing a nude woman who is Spiegelman’s mother.

“We can teach them history and we can teach them graphic history,” board member Mike Cochran said, according to minutes of the meeting. “We can tell them exactly what happened, but we don’t need all the nakedness and all the other stuff.”

But the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, challenged that idea in a tweet Wednesday after news broke about the ban, saying: “‘Maus’ has played a vital role in educating about the Holocaust” and that “Teaching about the Holocaust using books like Maus can inspire students to think critically about the past and their own roles and responsibilities today.”

Spiegelman told CNBC on Wednesday that “I’ve met so many young people … who have learned things from my book” about the Holocaust.

Davis, the owner of Nirvana Comics in Knoxville, agreed.

“‘Maus’ changed my life, ‘Maus’ changed how I see the world,” Davis said in an interview Friday, noting that he has “read it dozens of times, and I sobbed each time.”

He said the book “rises above its original medium. It’s more than a comic book, it’s an important historical document that provides perspective about one of the most horrific events in history.”

But Davis also said that the fact that “Maus” is a graphic novel makes it “probably the most effective book at teaching the Holocaust, especially to schoolchildren.”

“Teenagers today are accustomed to reading comic books,” he said. “‘Maus’ is a very heavy read, but the graphic novel format makes it more approachable.”

“It’s one of those books that everyone should read, and it should be in every school curriculum,” he said.

Davis said the ban’s “end result reflects negatively on Tennessee because it perpetuates the sense that people in the south are backward.”

He said that “unfortunately we live an in era” where one complaint or a handful of complaints can lead to a book such as ‘Maus’ getting banned.

“I’m sure that the [McMinn] parents and the school board were well-intentioned, and thought they were protecting their children,” he said.

“But I think that really these parents, their good intentions, had very negative results. I think they’re harming their children by trying to keep them from books like ‘Maus,'” Davis said. “They’re trying to kid-proof everything.”

Lululemon faucets former Amazon exec as new CEO of its at-home gymnasium Mirror

Michael Aragon was previously the chief content officer of Twitch, Amazon’s live streaming business.

Source: Lululemon

Lululemon said Thursday it called earlier Amazon Managing Director Michael Aragon as Chief Executive Officer of his home gym, Mirror.

Aragon will also oversee Lululemon’s broader digital fitness endeavors, the retailer said in a press releasewho reports directly to the CEO of Lululemon, Calvin McDonald. The changes will take effect on January 17th.

Lululemon bought Mirror for $ 500 million in 2020. In September, then CEO Brynn Putnam resigned from their role. She founded the company in 2016.

Aragon was previously the chief content officer of Twitch, Amazon’s live streaming business. He also held positions at Sony groupto expand the PlayStation network.

In this new role, Aragon will face an increasingly competitive market for connected fitness equipment. Among the rivals are Peloton, Tonal, Hydrow and many others. The category exploded with interest as gyms temporarily closed and consumers looked for ways to exercise at home during the pandemic.

In December, Lululemon lowers its forecast for Mirror sales in fiscal year 2021 between $ 125 million and $ 130 million. Previously, the company had expected sales of $ 250 million to $ 275 million for the device, which will be wall-mounted and allow users to take cardio and other exercise classes.

Separately, Lululemon will oppose a. defend legal action filled in by Nike on Wednesday, which Mirror accused of infringing some of Nike’s patents.

Lululemon responded to the lawsuit by stating that Nike’s patents are “too broad and invalid. We believe in our position and look forward to defending it in court.”

Lululemon shares were unchanged in after-hours trading, closing the day up 1.7% at $ 368.77.

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Rivian, electrical car maker backed by Amazon and Ford, information to go public

Amazon’s new delivery truck


Rivian Automotive, a company that develops electric vehicles including commercial vans for Amazon, filed for an IPO on the Nasdaq on Friday. The company aims to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “RIVN”.

It is Paperwork shows Rivian posted a net loss of $ 994 million on zero revenues for the first six months of 2021. In 2020, the company’s net loss was $ 1.02 billion.

The company wrote in its submission: “We are a company in the development phase and have not yet generated any significant revenue. Vehicle production and deliveries began in September 2021.”

CEO RJ Scaringe, who holds a Ph.D. from Sloan Automotive Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded in 2009 Rivian. The company is based in Irvine, Calif., And employed 6,274 people at the end of June. It operates a vehicle assembly plant in Normal, Illinois.

Amazon and ford everyone owns more than 5% of the company. Peter Krawiec, Amazon’s Senior Vice President, Global Corporate and Business Development, sits on Rivian’s board of directors.

Rivian’s commercial vehicle business will be heavily dependent on Amazon for the foreseeable future. The company said Amazon has some exclusive rights to purchase Rivian electric delivery vehicles for at least four years, and then the right of first refusal thereafter.

Rivian beat Tesla, GM and ford launched with an electric pickup truck, the R1-T, which has already received rave reviews.

– CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.

SEE: Rivian CEO: We’re ready for the electric pickup race

Right here’s How A lot Cash Jeff Bezos Has Reaped From Promoting Amazon Inventory

Jeff Bezos has been selling shares of Amazon on a regular basis since the e-commerce giant went public in 1997 and has since reinvested much of the money.

Getty Images

Since Amazon went public in 1997, Bezos has sold or given away three-quarters of his Amazon stock. He’s got enough money now to probably buy pretty much anything he wants in the world.

For Jeff Bezos, wealth doesn’t come from a monthly paycheck. Amazon only pays its founder a salary of $ 81,000 a year (excluding the $ 1.6 million Amazon Bezos pays for security), a drop in the ocean compared to its total net worth of an estimated $ 200 billion -Dollar. Instead, nearly 90% of Bezos’ fortune resides in his Amazon holdings.

That’s not just true of Bezos, but many of America’s richest – and that’s a big reason why they pay so little in taxes relative to their total net worth. It is also why many tycoons, including Bezos, regularly sell their companies’ shares.

In total, the founder of the e-commerce giant has sold almost $ 27 billion worth of Amazon shares since going public in 1997, Forbes has calculated. Bezos’ total proceeds from stock sales, which To the best of its knowledge, Forbes has not yet been reported, provides a glimpse into the outgoing CEO of Amazon’s vast fortune. (He will step down as CEO on July 5 but will remain Executive Chairman of Amazon). Bezos has sold Amazon stock every year since 1998, with the exception of four: 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011. That explains in part why Bezos didn’t pay federal income taxes in at least two of those years – 2007 and 2011, like ProPublica reported earlier this month.

A Bezos spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.

Bezos began selling parts of his stake in Amazon the year after his fledgling e-commerce company went public in 1997. Sales began in the tens of millions per year: just under $ 46 million in 1998, $ 21 million in 1999, and $ 29 million in 2000. Over the next decade, Bezos slowly sold more shares, often two or three times a year , and peaked in 2010 when it discharged a total of 6 million shares for a total of $ 793 million before tax. But when Amazon’s share price began to rise significantly, Bezos sold fewer shares but received more cash each time. For example, in 2008 he sold 4 million shares for $ 304 million. He also sold 4 million shares last year – but since the stock had soared more than 3,000% since 2008 – he received $ 10 billion (pre-tax) from the sales.

Overall, Bezos’ share of Amazon has increased from 42% in 1997 to 10% after his sales that year, though the single biggest blow to his property was not the unloading of stocks. When the billionaire divorced in 2019, he transferred 19.7 million Amazon shares – a quarter of his stake that was worth at the time $ 36 billion, to ex-wife Mackenzie Scott. It was the most expensive divorce in history.

Where did all the money go, except to his ex-wife and indirectly to the nonprofits? she is supported? We know what Bezos spent part of his billions on, but not all.

In 2017, Bezos said he is selling about $ 1 billion in Amazon stock a year to invest in his commercial space company Blue Origin, which will put him and his brother Mark on his first manned flight into space next month. We don’t know how much he’s put into the company since it was founded in 2000, but it’s probably at least several billion, if not more. Bezos paid $ 250 million to buy the Washington Post in 2013, which is still a fraction of the $ 711 million stock he sold that year.

There is also luxury that only someone with billions can afford. Earlier this year, Bezos bought the famous Warner estate in Beverly Hills for a record $ 165 million from Mughal David Geffen, according to the Wall Street Journal. (Perkins Cole, a law firm that Amazon frequently represents as a buyer, is listed on the property register). Bezos also has homes in Washington state, New York, and Washington DC, as well as a sprawling ranch in Texas, all worth $ 504 million. However, it is unclear whether he paid cash or has a mortgage on these properties. He’s also spending more than $ 500 million on a 417-foot custom-built superyacht Bloomberg, which when completed will be the largest sailing yacht ever built in the Netherlands.

Overall, Forbes estimates that Bezos paid $ 6 billion in capital gains taxes on his nearly $ 27 billion in Amazon stock sales, assuming he didn’t use losses from other investments to offset those gains. ProPublica reported that Bezos paid $ 973 million in federal taxes between 2014 and 2018.

Bezos has long been criticized for saving up on charitable donations and avoiding the giving pledge, an obligation to give away the majority of one’s wealth. While he has donated a few Amazon stock to charity over the years, Bezos has only recently embraced great philanthropy. As of 2018, he has pledged $ 12 billion to start his own charities. The Bezos Day One Fund, with a $ 2 billion commitment from Bezos, creates one controversial Network of non-profit preschools in low-income communities and giving grants to groups that help homeless families. Last year, Bezos pledged $ 10 billion to create the Bezos Earth Fund, which grants grants to organizations fighting climate change. The fund has paid off so far $ 791 million. Before 2018, Bezos gave several million dollar gifts, including $ 33 million to TheDream.us, a nonprofit that funds college scholarships for Dreamers, and $ 15 million create the Bezos Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics at Princeton University.

Overall, Forbes can account for an estimated $ 14 billion in Bezos’ spending. In addition, part of his money was invested in startups. Bezos was an early investor in Google, according to Bloomberg reporter Brad Stone’s book The Everything Store, although we don’t know if Bezos kept or sold his stake when the search giant went public in 2004. He’s also invested money in his family office. Bezos Expeditions, which, according to PitchBook, has invested in more than 100 companies since 2006, including Twitter, Airbnb and Uber. It is unclear how much money Bezos has put into Bezos expeditions so far, but it is likely that he has done well with his investments. Which means he could be worth billions of dollars more than the $ 200 billion that Forbes currently pegs his net worth at.

Amazon holds on to prime on-line retail spot

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

How Amazon is preparing for its annual megasale on Prime Day, its reign as the country’s largest online retailer is impressive: it is expected to generate more than 40% of the country’s e-commerce sales by the end of 2021.

Amazon’s dominance on the internet has only grown as online shopping becomes second nature for many consumers. This is exactly what has happened in the past 13 years.

In 2008, e-commerce sales represented only 3.6% of total retail sales in the United States, according to eMarketer. After growing gradually year on year, that number rose to 14% in 2020 as the Covid pandemic boosted online spending on everything from groceries and toilet paper to spinning wheels and workout clothes. Ecommerce sales are set to account for 15.3% of total retail sales by the end of this year and grow to 23.5% by 2025, eMarketer said.

Zoom In Icon Arrows pointing outwards

In second place behind Amazon and well behind the big box chain Walmart is expected to occupy about 7% of the digital retail market this year. Follows the two Ebay, Apple, Home depot, aim and Best buy, according to eMarketer.

As in previous years, Walmart and Target are holding competing deals events that coincide with Amazon Prime Day 2021. Both discount stores will start selling on Sunday, but Walmart’s offerings will extend through Wednesday, while Target and Amazon will end on Tuesday. Both Walmart and Target are hoping to reach customers who are already browsing the web for summer discounts on Prime Day.

Zoom In Icon Arrows pointing outwards

According to a recent research report of JPMorgan, Amazon is well on its way to overtaking Walmart as the largest US retailer in 2022 as it gains a growing share of the overall e-commerce market. The accelerated adoption of internet shopping by consumers during the Covid pandemic has also given other Amazon businesses a boost, JPMorgan said.

EMarketer predicts that total US digital revenue on Prime Day will grow 17.3% year over year to $ 12.18 billion. Sales, which will be exclusively on Amazon on Prime Day, will increase 18.3% from 2020 levels to $ 7.31 billion, it said.

Reporting on Amazon Prime Day 2021

Read more about Amazon and others scheduled for this year’s sales events:

Last year Amazon’s typical July time for its shopping extravaganza was postponed until October due to the pandemic. Prime Day finally marked the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season.

Back to a more normal schedule, this year’s event has been postponed a bit in June. Experts say the company wants to increase spending in what is typically a slower time on the retail calendar. The new time could also lead to an earlier start shot for back-to-school shopping.

“Amazon will be shy when they announce this … so they have the benefit of knowing what they are doing to make sure they are in a good position,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman of retail and sales at Deloitte said in an interview. “While the others answer.”

—CNBCs Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

Amazon health-care menace? Teladoc CEO says it is ‘overrated’

The Amazon Pharmacy home screen on a smartphone arranged in the Brooklyn Borough of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ask a sports star before a game whether their team is going to win and they’re likely to say yes with confidence. And then cue the headlines that will sensationalize the hubris. But would you expect an athlete to say — would you want them to think — they’re about to lose?

The heads of companies sometimes talk about the competition in a similar way, and they shouldn’t be in the CEO hot seat without confidence in their company’s ability to win.

Take Teladoc Health CEO Jason Gorevic, recently asked at the CNBC Healthy Returns Summit about the threat Amazon poses in health care.

“Based on the fact that it has one enterprise client of 385 employees, it is overrated,” Gorevic said, answering a question about Amazon Care, the retail and tech giant’s app-based primary care entry in Teladoc’s market, which signed up its first client, Peloton-owned fitness equipment company Precor, in May.

Should the Teladoc CEO be more worried? Even after Amazon’s deal with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan to take on the status quo with its health care joint effort, Haven, fell apart, the merchandising giant still has a big market to exploit.

Amazon Care is expected to expand to its own employees in all 50 states this summer. It has been adding workers faster than any company in history, more than 500,000 in 2020. It also has had a deal with employer health provider Crossover Health for in-person employee health clinics that continues to expand across states with a goal of putting these clinics within a few miles of all Amazon employees, especially in light of the attention its workplace injury rates have received.

J.P. Morgan is moving on and deeper into health care after Haven, recently announcing it will move ahead with its own effort to invest in new health-care ideas, to be offered among its 165,000 employees and families.

Virtual health here to stay

As society has moved rapidly from the awareness phase of virtual care to the expectation phase, those expectations have increased, and Teladoc has added services like mental health treatment as part of what Gorevic tells CNBC is the future “unified experience” with patients.

“Virtual care is not a stay at home phenomenon,” Gorevic said. “The utilization we are seeing across multiple conditions all indicate it is here to stay.”

He cited first quarter 2021 results during which visit volume was up 69% year over year in spite of the fact that seasonal flu-related visits were down 90%.

Nevertheless, Teladoc shares have cratered, down from a peak earlier this year above $290 to roughly half that level, ending trading last week slightly above $146. But Gorevic says investors are missing the bigger picture, and overlooking improving numbers. The biggest quarterly number he cites: revenue per member, per month, which in Q1 2021 was $2.25, versus 87 cents a year ago.

Others cite the rapid M&A taking place in Teladoc’s market as reason to worry.

Walmart acquired MeMD in May; two other telemedicine competitors, Doctor on Demand and Grand Rounds, recently merged.

“Everyone feels like they have to have a press release that says something about telehealth to be relevant,” Gorevic told CNBC Healthy Returns. “I’m not surprised by any of these moves.”

“This pandemic has thrown the whole market into motion. As we looked at the market, we said we needed to be bold, and we see where it’s going,” the Teladoc CEO said, citing its $18 billion acquisition of chronic disease management company Livongo, which is focused on diabetes, and its expanding mental health services.

Gorevic says health-care consumers are overwhelmed by health-care websites and apps and want a unified experience, and the company is seeing that in multi-product bookings, which in 2020 represented two-thirds of bookings.

Amazon and the fear of disruption

Amazon’s ability to upend, or at least send waves of terror, through the health care industry has already been seen in the launch of its online pharmacy, which led to shares of Goodrx dropping from over $52 to roughly $33 after the announcement last October.

Wall Street analysts who cover Teladoc see Amazon’s presence as significant, yet not all agree it is an acute threat to Teladoc currently.

“Leery of Amazon’s initiatives here,” wrote Sean Wieland, managing director and a senior research analyst focusing on health-care information technology and health-care services at Piper Sandler, in response to an email.

“Even Amazon would have to get the enterprise market on board one employer at a time, as it’s a highly fragmented market and that would take years. Also, it’s a significant lift to go from offering urgent care visits on demand to whole person health care.”

More from CNBC’s Healthy Returns

Charles Rhyee, managing director and senior research analyst covering health-care technology and distribution at Cowen & Co., said Goodrx is a good example of how Amazon can disrupt health care, and it would be a mistake to ignore Amazon’s potential. But he thinks the threat in pharmacy is more direct than in telehealth.

“It’s is a mature market. There are tons of pharmacies out there and it is not a growth sector. In the truest sense, more of zero sum game,” Rhyee said, and that is something Amazon can afford to win at the expense of CVS or Goodrx.

Telehealth visits still a fraction of the market

Telehealth is still a nascent field and that may play to Teladoc’s favor in the years ahead.

“We are all talking about it because of Covid forcing everyone to seek virtual care, but if you think about how many visits Teladoc will do this year, it’s 12 million to 13 million visits,” Rhyee said.

That compares to a U.S. market in which there are one billion visits or more, annually, including mental health care.

Whether a Teladoc or American Well is growing in the telemedicine market, Rhyee says that amounts to about 2% to 3% of visits, a small fraction of what can be virtualized and an indicator that the market is going to expand.

“I’m not concerned,” Rhyee said. “Where Teladoc sits is not what Amazon is doing. It’s not just basic video visits to speak to a doctor for a minor thing. It is increasingly in multiple specialities and second opinions and Livongo. You can argue right now very few, if any, have that broad capabilities, and that’s why Doctor on Demand is merging with Grand Rounds.”

He looks at Amazon in basic care and pharmacy in a similar way to his analysis of Walmart’s health care after its acquisition of MeMD. “They want to provide some basic connectivity and prescriptions that can be dispensed at Walmart.”  

Why Teladoc shares have been volatile

Stocks move up and down in discrete periods of time, and that doesn’t always correspond to the longer-term trend. That’s part of the challenge for investors with Teladoc right now, trying to figure out what its growth looks like post-Covid.

Membership growth guidance for this year may not be as strong as some investors wanted coming out of Covid, and app tracking firms have shown slowing momentum in daily usage. Yet people using Teladoc less now than April of last year does not mean they are using it less than they were in 2019. And last year was unusual.

“We don’t know what virtual will look like in the end,” Rhyee said. 

The Cowen analyst has a $240 price target on the stock and says at $140 it is trading at roughly 8 times forward revenue, which is up from where it traded before Covid, but that was when “people didn’t believe it was a real business.”

Rhyee says he will worry more about Amazon if it starts stringing together acquisitions in health care, including in the chronic condition management space. “That would tell me they are much more serious about it,” he said.

As long as Amazon Care is one enterprise client and its own employees, the Teladoc outlook will be based elsewhere.

The idea of competition between Teladoc and Amazon may be missing the real threat Amazon poses in health care, according to David Grossman, research manager director at Stifel. That includes disrupting the legacy providers in insurance and pharmacy benefits managers.

Teladoc is disrupting traditional providers by creating a virtual 24/7 network on demand that can offer a potentially lower-cost alternative. Those traditional providers now forced to offer telemedicine are more of a near-term threat to Teladoc, in Grossman’s view, as they evolve from starting telehealth “literally overnight” to incorporating virtual care as a permanent feature of their care delivery models.

“Virtual care is now table stakes for providers, while 15 months ago it was barely on the radar screen,” he said.

Setting up appointments online and having telehealth as an option may be one of the features Amazon offers, but that is a shortsighted way to view what Amazon is after in the health care system.

Amazon is saying we take over everything. It’s not lets go after Teladoc. That’s incidental.

David Gross, Stifel analyst

Grossman, who is concerned about Teladoc’s ability to grow revenue and margins, says Gorevic is a smart guy building a reasonable model. Now they can pitch health plans on using a provider network they have created at lower cost for employers, if employees agree to access services virtually as a first stop. That disintermediates the traditional provider network, but he does not see Amazon stopping there or even thinking in those terms specifically.

“Amazon is saying we take over everything,” Grossman said, looking at traditional health care market that is flawed in delivery and pricing and adds little value. “It’s not lets go after Teladoc. That’s incidental.”

Taking cost out of the system is what Amazon already has proven to be great at, squeezing out players that don’t offer value and shouldn’t be there. “I’m rooting for them in that sense,” the Stifel analyst said.

But whether it is Amazon’s or Walmart’s efforts that are emerging in health care, the models to watch do not exclude Teladoc. “There is no indication we should write it off,” Grossman said.

Teladoc shares are down for a lot of reasons, starting with the market rotation out of growth names and the market acknowledging that traditional providers are ramping up their own telemedicine products.

“Everyone points to Amazon, and let’s be fair, it was a high multiple stock and the market is getting out of the stay at home trade and pricing how high can utilization translate into pricing” Grossman said. He added that Teladoc has struggled to convince the street of its pricing power. “They have been opaque.”

The company is growing monthly revenue per member, as Gorevic noted, but the Stifel analyst was quick to point out the recent Q1 growth relied on the acquisition of Livongo. Livongo is the largest provider of virtual chronic care and that is top of mind for employers, but Teladoc has a lot of work left to do to prove demand for it is a secular driver of its business growth.

Behavioral health, meanwhile, is the fastest- growing incremental service but there is only so much that can be delivered on an automated basis, so it becomes a staffing platform to match supply and demand and help sole mental health practice proprietors fill their book of business like an Uber or Lyft.

While the 8 times revenue the company is trading at might seem less than rich, double-digit revenue multiple companies tend to be in sectors like software, where scalability comes fast and at high margins. Teladoc’s subscription-heavy sales model means a majority of revenue is fixed while the costs remain variable.

“Their claim all along has been as utilization goes up it’s good for them, but there is no pricing algorithm around that. We don’t know how to calculate that,” Grossman said.

Companies like Teladoc and American Well can grow members, and grow utilization among members, but how either of those growth measures factor into pricing power remains unpredictable. Utilization can go up, but revenue not match it. And that contributes to investor concerns about its scalability.

“It is factually correct they can get more per member with more services and there are lots of opportunities, but lots of competition for each module and booking,” Grossman said. The company’s scale and visibility give it an advantage, “but lots remains uncertain,” he said.

Gorevic told CNBC this is not a pandemic story. “Something else is going on here. People are reaching out for other things.”

Mental health, dermatology, and chronic conditions including diabetes, and health issues linked to it such as weight loss. “Not one and done things, and that’s why I am convinced,” the Teladoc CEO said.

Building the virtual primary care model and convincing payers and employers that it is most cost-effective to choose this option, and agree to have members enter the health system virtually as the first step, is the bigger opportunity to drive higher revenue per member, Grossman said, and longer-term it is the more sustainable way to disrupt the traditional provider network.

In that sense, Teladoc is taking market share just like Amazon would, and they can grow for a longer period of time. That may be a discrete disruption in health care that becomes permanent. The biggest disruption in health care, though, is not about telemedicine.

“All roads lead into the payers,” Grossman said. “That’s where the level of satisfaction is low and the control they have is high.”

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Alerts about ‘suspicious exercise’ surge, as crooks impersonate Amazon | Cash

Now scammers are trying to warn you of possible scam on your account in order to make you so nervous that you won’t think twice about what to do next.

We’re seeing an increase in text messages and phone calls from scammers alerting us to suspicious activity. Some pretend to be from Amazon’s fraud department. Others follow a similar MO with dubious fraud warnings by posing as big names, including banks like Chase and government agencies like the Social Security Administration.

Everything is portrayed as something terribly “urgent”. Some text messages warn you that your account has been suspended or restricted due to unusual activity and that you may be mistakenly told that you need to click a link to fix the problem.

Others may claim that you need to check to see if there was a $ 500 purchase on your card for something or another.

Some robocalls tell you to “press 1” to report a fake charge, which is often listed as $ 729 or $ 1,499.

Every text message you get is not real

Our first automatic response, of course, is to try quickly to make sure no one is stealing money from our accounts or using our credit cards.

Unfortunately, acting quickly is the wrong reaction. We have to take a deep breath and train ourselves to carefully check who is really writing, emailing or calling us.

While you might think that any text or warning you receive must be legitimate, it is not.

“These scams work because they target routine human behavior and exploit consumer fears that a problem has emerged,” said Brian K. Payne, director of the Coastal Virginia Center for Cyber ​​Innovation.

“Ironically, the only problem is that the perpetrator is targeting the person in order to steal from them.”

An instant response only gives the crooks what they want – a nervous consumer who could easily give out a username and password, driver’s license number, credit card number, or social security number.

Why you don’t want to click this link

In some cases, a scam can start as an email or SMS with a warning that your account access has been restricted to unusual activity. Urgent action is recommended as customers will be asked to click a link to verify their account and restore normal access.

A click on the link naturally leads the user to a landing page that asks for their login details. Fraudsters can use information to steal your identity and get new credit. Or they can even try to empty your bank account.

As with other scams, these scammers can also convince you that you need to put money on a prepaid card or bitcoin in order to fix a problem.

Some Michigan consumers report receiving calls from whatever that is called an “anti-fraud department” of the US government.

In this scam, the caller says that the consumer’s computer has been compromised by hackers and the caller needs remote access to stop them. At some point, the scammers are very likely to ask for gift cards to “catch the suspects”.

Consumers can be tricked because scammers’ messages usually sound or look official.

“Sending a fraudulent email does not cost the fraudster anything and is capable of targeting thousands of potential victims at once,” Payne said.

“Even if few people fall victim to the fraud, the payout can be big,” Payne said. “And it is not easy to catch the perpetrators because they can hide their identity and commit the crime from anywhere in the world.”

Has someone just fraudulently debited your Amazon account?

Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel reissued a warning in May to warn consumers of the surge in fraudulent calls to Amazon.

We heard about the Amazon scams in late 2020 when vacation shoppers allegedly received calls from Amazon claiming that nearly $ 800 in fees had been collected on someone’s account.

According to consumer advocates, calls from Amazon have increased dramatically in the past few months.

According to YouMail, which has a robocall blocking app, consumers are now regularly receiving between 100 million and 150 million robocalls per month from scammers who claim to be on Amazon.

Nessel noted that some departments at Amazon will call customers, but Amazon will never ask you to disclose or verify sensitive personal information or offer you a refund that you are not expecting.

“If you are an Amazon customer, log into your account directly through the mobile app or website to check your order status or to contact customer service,” said Nessel in a statement.

Amy Nofziger, director of victim support for the AARP Fraud Watch Network, said the fake text messages can be particularly worrying for some consumers who don’t expect scammers to use text messages.

Nofziger noted that consumers need to realize that smartphones are computers, and once a crook has access to the phone, it may be possible to tap into accounts you already have open on the phone, such as your bank account.

So you don’t want to click any links in these texts.

The best way to do this is to hang up or ignore a text message and if in doubt, call the company directly using a number listed on a bank statement or on the company’s website.

Further recommendations are:

  • Never give out personal information to someone you don’t know.
  • Treat calls for immediate action like big red flags.
  • Be aware that scammers can reach out to you via voicemail or text message to let you know that your bank account is being closed, suspended, or terminated unless you call or go to a website asking for personal information being asked. Do not do it.
  • Banks, including Chase and others, are also warning consumers not to put a driver’s license, phone number, or social security number on their checks.

Some people lost a lot of money to these crooks. Some end up putting hundreds or thousands of dollars on gift cards.

If crooks are able to access your bank account, they will be trying to steal tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of seconds.

Amazon scammers lured a California woman into an elaborate scam that resulted in a loss of $ 40,000, according to the YouMail warning.

Remember that part of the cheating game is creating drama that will lead you to do something that you would never do if you weren’t nervous, like sending money by wire transfer or going to a store to buy a prepaid card or gift card.

Amazon Orders ‘Arpo Robotic Babysitter’ Present From Moonbug Leisure

Amazon made a deal with Moonbug entertainment, a major producer and distributor of children’s digital programming to deliver content for Amazon children Plus.

The first joint project focuses on an original production of “Arpo Robot Babysitter”, based on Moonbug’s YouTube show Arpo, and includes long specials. The original content from Arpo is to premiere exclusively on Amazon Kids Plus in autumn 2021. The companies are also developing a new Arpo mobile game.

Arpo – which stands for “Army Robot Prototype Omega” – is an animated show without dialogue based on slapstick humor for children aged 3-7 years. Moonbug acquired the rights to Arpo, which is from Korea, last year. Also last year the company did bought the YouTube powerhouse Cocomelon for kids’ content and raised $ 120 million in funding.

“Our partnership with Amazon Kids Plus expands the world of Arpo and takes kids on new adventures,” said Andy Yeatman, Managing Director of the Americas at Moonbug. Yeatman that joined Moonbug from Netflix two years ago, described the Arpo character as “” Big Hero 6 “meets” Mrs. Fire of doubt. ‘”

Without dialogue, Yeatman added, “This show speaks to children around the world with no language barrier. It’s funny and has a heart. “

In the original production coming to Amazon Kids Plus, Arpo faces new challenges as the robot takes care of his protégé Danny and Danny’s adopted Korean sister Cookie – and has to adapt to a team of new robots built by mom . On YouTube, Arpo the Robot has nearly 5 million subscribers and more than 1.7 billion lifetime views.

“The addition of Arpo to the Amazon Kids Plus offering is a joyous example of our commitment to delivering content that kids and families will love,” said Veronica Pickett, Amazon Kids Plus Original Series Director. “The heart and humor at the heart of Arpo create so many LOL moments that inspire the world of entertainment we’re building with the new original series and game.”

Amazon Kids Plus, the e-commerce giant’s subscription service for parents and children (formerly called FreeTime Unlimited), costs $ 2.99 / month for Prime members and $ 4.99 / month for non-Prime customers.

Moonbug’s program franchises include Cocomelon, Blippi, Little Baby Bum, My Magic Pet Morphle, Supa Strikas, Go Buster, Playtime With Twinkle, Gecko’s Garage, and Arpo.

The company’s programming library includes more than 550 hours of content distributed across more than 100 platforms worldwide, including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, NBCUniveral’s Peacock, Sky, Tencent and Roku.

Moonbug also signed a deal with YouTube for Supa Strikas: Rookie Season, an original broadcast about a pan-African soccer team. Last year, it licensed Mia’s Magic Playground, which is aimed at children ages 4-6, to HBO Max for the US market.

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Amazon Tightens Deal with Media and Leisure With MGM Deal

Hollywood has spent the last week imagining how Amazon will integrate MGM after the acquisition of the legendary studio, valued at $ 8.5 billion, is completed.

Has Amazon Paid Too Much? What is the fate of MGM film director Michael De Luca? How much will MGM TV boss Mark Burnett put into sales? (The answer: enough to bring his total revenue from multiple sales of his production banner to nearly $ 1 billion.)

The forward-looking question, however, is how Amazon can change once MGM is launched Jeff Bezos‘huge tent of e-commerce, web hosting services and media.

As the details of the MGM deal emerged, speculation also surfaced about Amazon’s long-term plans. Sources close to the situation say there have even been discussions about Amazon eventually spinning off the Prime Video and Amazon Studios units into a standalone entity. However, Amazon sources deny this.

Jeff BlackburnThe return from Amazon to Amazon earlier this month has been interpreted as a sign of impending movement for the device. Blackburn, the Amazon veteran credited with building the company, was on sabbatical for most of 2020, then quit in February. But on May 13, two weeks before the MGM acquisition was announced, Amazon surprised the business world by announcing that Blackburn would once again serve as senior VP of the newly created Global Media and Entertainment unit.

Amazon is already in the middle of a management change, as Bezos is handing over the CEO position to Andy Jassy, ​​the long-standing head of the highly profitable Amazon Web Services division, on July 5th.

Industry sources say Amazon’s top bosses are increasingly paying attention to the regulatory environment in the US and Europe. There is concern among all big tech firms that Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are being viewed as prime targets for breakup efforts, much like how Microsoft fought in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Global Media and Entertainment unit also hosts Audible, Twitch, Amazon Music, and Amazon Games.

Negotiations on the deal, which includes approximately $ 2 billion in MGM debt, have come together quietly for the past nine months or so. Insiders say the majority of the conversation was over phone and video conferencing between Mike Hopkins, Amazon’s senior VP of Prime Video and Studios, and Kevin Ulrich, CEO of Anchorage Capital Group, the mutual fund that was the majority owner of MGM.

Conversations focused solely on the price tag for sale. Decisions about the fate of MGM’s executives and how the studio itself will operate within Amazon Studios’ infrastructure were not addressed. That sparked a tussle between key players like De Luca, Burnett and Amazon Studios director Jennifer Salke, who is now overseeing an original content budget of nearly $ 8 billion, immediately after the announcement. Amazon insiders say they are not considering a scenario that would lead to major changes for Salke.

The only certainty at this stage is that Burnett is poised to come out of the sale with an estimated profit of approximately $ 200 million. He and his wife and business partner Roma Downey were the third largest shareholders in MGM behind Ulrichs Anchorage and Highland Capital Management. The two sold their One Three Media production banner (a joint venture with Hearst) to MGM in two transactions in 2014 and 2015, valued the company at $ 650 million. In 2015, the couple received more than half of their second payout in MGM shares instead of cash. That turned out to be a good bet on sales of $ 8.5 billion.

Ulrich fired former MGM chairman Gary Barber in 2018 after attempting to orchestrate the sale of the studio to Apple for $ 6 billion. At the time, Ulrich was the subject of industrial giggles that he didn’t want to forego red carpets in his entrée, with A-lists and other trappings of Hollywood mogulship.

Sources who worked with the hedge fund manager say he always focused on leaving MGM – at the right time and at the right price. Ulrich’s confidence in MGM’s appeal to buyers as the streaming wars began to rage has been proven by all of the things MGM has not done in the past two years.

MGM has chosen not to open its vault for content licenses or reboots. It did not search its library to develop traits attached to characters in such well-known titles as “Rocky”, “The Pink Panther”, “Legally Blonde”, “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “RoboCop” and “The Graduate.” “are bound.”

MGM’s revenue could easily have been replenished through content deals for marquee titles. But that would also have locked those assets in the short term with films and television series that would be committed to competing platforms. Part of MGM’s appeal to Amazon was that much of its library has yet to be dismantled for new content offerings. In fact, a source close to the situation says that the greatest asset Amazon is gaining from the deal is not the library per se, but the key to an intellectual property vault that has potential far beyond the existing one Goes beyond MGM’s list of 4,000 films and 17,000 TV episodes.

The James Bond franchise is, of course, the huge exception as it is jointly owned with Eon Prods. ‘ Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who retain their veto rights against the use of Agent 007.

Even without the renowned spy, the abundance of material Amazon gets for its $ 8.5 billion will set the company apart from Netflix and Apple in the race to build global streaming media platforms.

“You only think Amazon paid too much for this deal if you have absolutely no imagination,” says a senior executive who is involved in the deal.

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