Snap Back

Shares of Snap (owners of Snapchat) fell steeply after the company reported slowing revenue growth in Q2. While revenue grew by 17% compared to Q2 of 2019, it was a big fall from the 44% growth it enjoyed in Q1.

More bad news for Snap coming out of the report:

  • Net losses for the quarter rose by 28% to $326M
  • Daily users rose by 4%, but the company missed its target by 1 million users
  • Revenue growth is going to have to pick up quite a bit to hit Snap's goal of 32% year over year revenue growth
It's not all doom and gloom, though. Some of the punishment Snap is taking in the markets may be due more to the fact that it's share price has risen by 50% since the start of the year, and is trading at a premium compared to its social media rivals.

One Less Competitor?

Snap may also benefit from growing momentum to ban Tik Tok in the United States. The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to ban the app on Federal government phones, citing security risks.

A top Trump White House officials has said it will be "weeks, not months" before broader action is taken against TikTok.

We wonder if a TikTok ban will coincide with the roll out of Facebook's clone, Instagram Reels, in the U.S.?

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  • Before the Tiger King there was the Parrot King. The stakes are just as high but the characters aren't quite as kooky. 
  • Canada's worst mass shooting could have been prevented, the Halifax Examiner takes a deep dive into the RCMP's failure to stop the tragedy. 
  • ʕ•́ᴥ•̀ʔっ(ɔ◔‿◔)ɔ ♥≧◠‿◠≦✌ Copy and Paste, you're welcome
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  • Clothing retailer Mendocino is shuttering all of its 28 GTA stores. The brand which has been around since 1987 will be moving to an e-commerce only model. 
  • BC Premier John Horgan is calling on the federal government to decriminalize all drugs. 
  • Some Covid-19 Survivors are still dealing with the long term effects of the disease.
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LOL, That's The Name

League of Legends is out with new branding for it's e-sports league which sits atop 12 regional groupings. The name? LOL E-Sports. It's easy to LOL at League of Legends for sticking with moniker but it hasn't harmed them so far, they and their parent company Riot Games, are doing pretty well.

What It Means:

  • Regional League of Legends leagues will continue to exist and operate under their own names.
  • LOL will be rolling out three new shows across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, but snubbing Twitch.
  • The new brand is part of LOL's mission to bring e-sports to a billion people, which requires "it starts with building a thriving global esports ecosystem supported by electrifying competition, sustainable growth, cutting-edge tech."
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Fire Sale for Canadian Media

Shareholders of Torstar have approved a takeover bid which will see the publisher of the Toronto Star, a number of regional papers, and other media properties be taken private. The winning bidder, Nordstar Group, is backed by Jordan Bitove, most well known for bringing the Raptors to Toronto, and Paul Rivett. The group upped their bid from an initial $0.63 to $0.74 a share to fend of a rival bid of $0.80 per share. At the meeting no shareholders questioned the wisdom of rejecting the higher bid. The approved deal is valued at $60M.

The Times is On It!
Meanwhile, America's paper of record is keeping a close eye on the ownership of Canadian media. The New York Times recently investigated the slash and burn approach the hedge fund Chatham Asset Management took to Postmedia as a warning of what might happen now that the same fund has purchased the McClatchy chain of papers.

The Big Picture
The Canadian media landscape is looking bleak, we've seen consolidation over from coast to coast over the last decade leading to local newsrooms shuttering and layoffs at the big papers. The take private of Torstar should allow it's new owners to find efficiencies before going public once again. 

Need any more reasons to subscribe to The Peak? 

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Dude Where's My Contract Tracing App

As re-opening continues across the country and cases rise in concert, people are asking where is the contract tracing app that we were promised months ago? Premier Ford's response "possibly..Friday." The Premier blames the federal government for dragging their feet on approving the rollout, perhaps over privacy concerns that stirring up trouble in other countries.

Tracing Mistakes

A number of European nations who have built their tracing apps using Google's platform are now pushing back on the tech giant for tracking users' locations after indicating they wouldn't do that.

South Korea's tracing app apparently had "major security flaws" which would have allowed hackers to view and expose the identities and locations of those in quarantine. Hackers could have manipulated the data to show that a person was breaking quarantine or that they were still in quarantine in reality they weren't, two scenarios with dangerous consequences. The issue has now been resolved, but South Korea is though of as a leader in digital public health, if they're making mistakes it's bound to happen here.

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WE Scream for Scandal

The Kielburgers and Trudeaus are as tight as a King West sidewalk on a pandemic summer day. Each day it seems like another stumble or back room deal is slipping out of each of the leaky organizations, here's the latest:

  • The Feds suggested the grants be used to pay students less than minimum wage. The government scheme intended to pay student recipients about $10 and hour, well below the $15 minimum wage by blending volunteer and work hours. An approach legal experts and students are rejecting as poorly though out.
  • The minister responsible for the grant program met with WE days before the program was announced, muddying the waters around claims of this being a bureaucratic decision.
  • The Kielburgers are being dubbed 'The Property Brothers' as it was revealed their organizations control a $50M property portfolio in downtown Toronto.
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Peak Picks

  • If you've ever wanted a cake that looks exactly like a pickle, or maybe a Croc, I have good news for you: it's apparently a thing, and it's called "still-life cakes".
  • White Castle is testing out a burger flipping robot called Flippy. The bot costs $30,000 up front plus monthly payments of $1,500.
  • We may be nearing Peak Hot Dog. A researcher analyzed years of historical hot dog-eating data and found the theoretical limit of hot dog consumption by a human is 84 in 10 minutes. The world record currently stands at 75.
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  • You can now trade cryptocurrency on WealthSimple. I have some DogeCoin from 2017 I need to unload — any takers?
  • Elon Musk's satellite internet company, StarLink, is now asking for Canadians to give their address to participate in a private beta this summer.
  • Ten thousand day traders every hour are buying Tesla shares, which are up 56% over the past 10 days. Are these aspiring Buffets accurately valuing an innovative disruptor or chasing a hot trend and praying they don't get stuck holding the bag? I leave that to your judgement, reader.
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A Nice Place In The Country

Here's a question I've asked myself lately: if everyone's working from homes and all the restaurants/bars are closed and there's no live music or events... what's the point of living in a city, again?

Apparently others are asking the same question, as this story about a migration of people to Ontario's Prince Edward County shows.

Average home prices in the County, which has beaches, wineries, and good restaurants, are up 14% from last year as people from Toronto — a few hours by car — snap up properties. `

Anecdotes don't equal trends... yet. But the data to suggest that a mass exodus of city dwellers is underway just doesn't exist. People seem to be staying put for now.
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