Jan 25, 2017

Bezos beats Hastings on the red carpet

Amazon beat out streaming rival Netflix as the first major streaming company to be nominated for best picture on Tuesday. Amazon-owned Manchester by the Sea was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, and The Salesman, an Amazon-owned foreign film, received one.

It's unprecedented: Amazon only launched their movies business a year ago, and already they are outbidding major studio competitors for content and winning major awards. The retail giant purchased rights to Manchester by the Sea for $10 million at Sundance last year, outbidding the likes of Fox Searchlight and Universal. This year, they have already made the largest acquisition at Sundance with $12 million comedy film The Big Sick.

Why to watch: Amazon and Netflix have both made major investments in content, but Bezos' box office success and critical acclaim are inching him ahead of Reed Hastings. Amazon's success can likely be attributed to their distribution strategy. The tech giant released Manchester by the Sea to box offices and made nearly $39 million dollars, while Netflix released Beasts of No Nation online in tandem with theaters, making an abysmal $91,000 in the box office.

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HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.