Plus: Amazon is developing a streaming video game service; 30-second Super Bowl ads are going for $5 million; vintage cars with electric-heart transplants.
A new $100 million investment in Postmates values the food-delivery startup at $1.85 billion ahead of its 2019 IPO. The investment includes participation from a new backer, the prominent public-market investor BlackRock, which is getting into the company in the nick of time: Postmates has hired JPMorgan Chase to underwrite its IPO, which is expected in the first half of this year. The company, which is most popular in Los Angeles, has been dramatically expanding its delivery regions, with its service now available in 550 cities; in 2017, its revenue grew more than 85 percent to around $250 million on nearly $900 million in total gross sales. Meanwhile, BlackRock is cutting about 500 jobs, roughly 3 percent of its workforce of more than 14,000 employees. [Theodore Schleifer and Jason Del Rey / Recode]
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During a visit to the US-Mexico border, President Trump again threatened to declare a national emergency and circumvent Congress if he can’t get funding for his proposed border wall via the appropriations process. Trump also announced he was canceling his January 21 trip to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, a sign that the already 20-day partial government shutdown could continue for weeks. Meanwhile, Trump’s Tuesday primetime TV appearance drew about 40 million viewers, according to Nielsen, which broke it down to 24 million viewers on the four major broadcast networks and nearly 16 million on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. [Catherine Lucey, Lisa Mascaro, and Laurie Kellman / AP]
Amazon is developing a service for streaming video games over the internet, joining Microsoft, Google, and other companies that are building similar offerings in what could be an important new battleground in online entertainment. Streaming services represent a potentially significant shift in the games business by, in some cases, eliminating the need for players to purchase expensive hardware, such as consoles or PCs, and allowing people to play games on devices with less processing muscle, including smartphones, tablets, and smart televisions. Amazon has begun talking to games publishers about distributing their titles through its service, which isn’t likely to be launched until next year at the earliest.[Jessica Toonkel and Kevin McLaughlin / The Information]
IMDb, the Amazon-owned movie database site, has launched Freedive, a free streaming video channel available in the US. Amazon has stocked the ad-supported on-demand service with a back catalog of movies and TV shows, including past seasons of The Bachelor (seasons 20 and 21), Gilligan’s Island, and Kitchen Nightmares, along with the movies Adaptation, Drive, and True Romance. Freedive also taps into Amazon’s X-Ray feature, which lets viewers access information pulled from IMDb about a title’s cast, crew, trivia, soundtracks, and more. The Freedive service, which will compete with VOD offerings from Tubi, Pluto TV, and Walmart’s Vudu, is available on the IMDb website via computers and on all Amazon Fire TV devices; it will be available soon on mobile devices through the IMDb app. [Todd Spangler / Variety]
Ad inventory for Super Bowl LIII is “over 90 percent sold” with just over three weeks before the February 3 game, according to CBS; a 30-second spot goes for more than $5 million, which is comparable to last year’s price. Beer behemoth Anheuser-Busch, the exclusive Super Bowl alcohol advertiser, is ponying up for more than five minutes of ad time; check out who else you’ll see on your screen of choice with Adweek’s Ad Tracker.[Jason Lynch / Adweek]
How did a beauty blogger become the leader of a $86 million empire and a business icon of her generation? Emily Weiss can tell you. As founder and CEO of Glossier, Weiss has created more than a direct-to-consumer beauty company — it’s a community archive of self-empowerment, helping people from all walks of life look good and feel even better. Her innovative approach has landed her on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and AdWeek’s Top 20 Content Creators. Join us on Monday, January 14, at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, as Weiss sits down with Recode’s Kara Swisher for a fascinating, in-depth conversation on innovation, beauty, and business. The program begins at 7:30 pm; click here to buy tickets.
Top stories from Recode
Google’s parent company is facing a lawsuit for its alleged mishandling of an explosive sexual misconduct case. The lawsuit against Alphabet’s board alleges that Google leadership’s misconduct has caused “severe financial and reputational damage” to the company. [Shirin Ghaffary]
Amazon will win advertising dollars away from Facebook amid privacy concerns, a new survey suggests. Top ad buyers say increased spending on Amazon is mostly coming from other digital platforms. [Rani Molla]
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