The 11th Hour Dispatch – Thursday, March 1, 2018

| March 1, 2018

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Netflix has plucked another The Daily Show correspondent for yet another talk show. This time, it’s popular comedian Hasan Minhaj. The series, which has not been named yet, will cover “modern cultural and political landscapes with depth and sincerity.” It has been greenlit for 32 episodes so far. Minhaj is no stranger to the streaming giant. He released his first stand-up special, Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King, with Netflix in 2017.


Food delivery app DoorDash has secured $535 million in Series D funding, which was enough to finally push it to that coveted sparkly unicorn status. The startup now boasts a $1.4 billion post-money valuation. CEO Tony Xu said that this “doesn’t really change anything” for them, but instead provides flexibility regarding how the company will finance itself. DoorDash became “contribution margin positive” in the last year, which means that it’s profitable on a per-order basis. The company has partnerships with almost 90% of the top 100 U.S. restaurant brands, including Wendy’s, IHOP, and The Cheesecake Factory. Despite these positives, DoorDash doesn’t see an IPO in the near future.


Lego has finally found an alternative for the material of those foot-puncturing bricks: sugarcane. The toy company has started production on “plastic” elements shaped like plants in their playsets. The elements are made from polyethylene that is sustainably sourced from the plant and can replace the plastic that is piling up on earth like empty pizza boxes in a frat house. Though made from an alternative, the products “are technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic.” Lego Group has committed to completely utilizing sustainable materials in its core products and packaging by 2030, and this is a great first step toward that goal. 


BuzzFeed is getting scrappy with its revenue diversification efforts and following in the footsteps of the Pioneer Woman with a Tasty-branded kitchenware line at Walmart. The brightly colored products will include everything from spatulas and whisks to cooking pots and mixing bowls that range in price from $4.44 to $99. The products will grace the shelves of 4,000 Walmart stores nationwide. BuzzFeed has publicly displayed issues with securing ad money as the industry model shifts, and with Facebook and YouTube’s recent changes regarding monetizing content, many other companies are struggling as well. However, most aren’t as lucky as BuzzFeed, which has the power, both financially and brand-wise, to make a (more than likely) successful pivot toward commerce. Many will bite the dust, as we’ve recently seen with publisher LittleThings suddenly closing down, Vox letting go of most of its social video departments, and Funny or Die, a company that paved the way for making money online, being forced to lay off considerable amounts of staff and rework its entire business model to stay afloat. And they won’t be the last. Hopefully, companies will start getting more and more creative as this tornado of change continues to rip through the internet.


If you’ve ever wanted to know what’s in the $100,000 gift bags Oscar nominees receive, today’s your lucky day.

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