Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche


Big News, Snapchat & Hulu change Digital Entertainment while Unions Back Republican

American broadcast television network NBC has signed what looks like a first of its kind deal to create episodes of its shows just for Snapchat.

Under the deal NBCUniversal; part of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) will produce special original episodes of some of its top shows for broadcast over Snapchat, Variety reported. Two of the programs involved; Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, are among the network’s flagship series.

Episodes of the hugely popular music show The Voice will also be created for Snapchat. The idea here is to get some of NBC’s content aimed at younger viewers before Millennials that do not watch television.

This will be followed by other NBC Universal sports and news programs including Olympic coverage. It looks as if the broadcast networks are getting desperate as younger viewers dump television. It also gives Snapchat a source of original content not available on Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube or Facebook’s (NASDAQ: FB) Instagram.

Hulu Ends Free Streaming

In a related move Hulu is planning to pull the plug on its free streaming service, Variety reported. Instead the service owned by a consortium of Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), Comcast and 21st Century Fox will only offer $7.99 and $11.99 monthly subscriptions.


The $7.99 subscription will offer adds, the $11.99 price will get users add-free content. The idea here is probably to create some float to support Hulu’s business model. Like a lot of digital entertainment providers, Hulu is having a hard time generating income.

Hulu has also entered into a deal with Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) now part of Verizon (NYSE: VZ) for advertising. It looks as if free digital TV will soon be a thing of the past. One has to wonder when Pandora (NYSE: P) will follow Hulu into the land of subscriptions.

Unions Endorse Former Bush Administration Official in Ohio Senate Race

There is now some evidence to prove the contention that Donald Trump’s economic agenda is more popular than he is. Four major unions have endorsed US Senator Bob Portman (R-Ohio) in his reelection bid, Polizette reported.

Portman has been endorsed by the United Mine Workers of America, the Ohio Teamsters, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police and the International Union Operating Engineers Local 18. That’s surprising because Portman was the director of the Office of Management and Budget for George W. Bush – who was hardly a friend of labor.

The unions have endorsed Portman; but not Trump, partially because he has attacked China and opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. The anti-free trade stance is reminiscent of Donald Trump without the racism.

This proves that Trump’s agenda of economic nationalism and populism is broadly popular, even though the man himself is not. That means there might be a future for this agenda without Trump. Part of the problem is that Trump’s racism and toxic personality drive away many people; including some leftists, who are sympathetic to his economic agenda.


An interesting scenario might be that Portman might win while Trump loses. That will prove the real appeal is not Trump’s half-baked personality cult but popular discontent with the economy.

This might presage a major break between Big Labor and the Democrats. The split is partially driven by specific issues rather than ideology. The Mine Workers are upset with President Obama’s moves to restrict coal burning which means fewer jobs for coal miners. Many police are angry with the Democrats’ embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement which is openly critical of cops. Other workers are mad at Hillary’s backing of the TPP.

Watch what’s happening in Ohio closely because it might be the beginning of a paradigm shift in labor’s political alignment. Most unions have been pro-Democrat since the New Deal of the 1930s. Yet it now looks as if at least some union leaders are fed up with Democrats’ pro-business policies.

It appears that Donald Trump’s political ideas might have a future if he does not. Expect many other Republicans to jump on the economic populist bandwagon and seek union support if Mr. Portman wins.

That means we might see a situation in which Democrats become the party of business, and Republicans the party of labor. It will mark the beginning of a new and very different age in American politics.