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How The Pandemic Has Changed Video Content And Consumption

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The Netflix Inc. original series “Cobra Kai” on a laptop computer arranged in Seattle, Washington, … [+] U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Netflix Inc. ended its biggest year in company history with a bang, powering its stock to intraday and closing highs after adding more customers than expected and saying it no longer needs to borrow money to build its entertainment empire. Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg
© 2021 Bloomberg Finance LP
Consumer spending patterns have been turned upside down by the pandemic—from the demand for jigsaw puzzles climbing 370%, to sales of yeast growing more than 400%, to Peloton sales spiking 172%. But it’s not just the dollar spending that has changed, it’s also another type of currency—our attention. In particular, the pandemic has fundamentally changed how we consume video. 
The rise in video consumption.  
Video popularity was on the rise before the pandemic—Cisco had already estimated that, by next year, a staggering 82% of all created content would be video. But the pandemic has accelerated an already ravenous appetite for video content. The average U.S. consumer now pays for four different streaming video subscriptions. Nearly one-quarter of U.S. consumers (23%) have added at least one new paid streaming video service since the pandemic began. 
It’s not just the well-established streaming players and social media platforms that are seeing increased traction. Relative newcomers such as TikTok and Instagram Reels are feeding consumer’s rampant desire for video. TikTok’s tidal wave growth saw it nearly triple in size since 2018, now amassing about 100 million monthly active U.S. users. 

Relatable content on the rise 
TikTok’s rise to global prominence has been driven by several trends. One potent driver has been increased demand for relatable content. As the pandemic unfolded, people felt more comfortable being their full, authentic selves on social media platforms like TikTok. According to research by Global Web Index, 42% of social media users agree there’s been less pressure to portray an unrealistic image of their life on social media. More so than before, being relatable is driving clicks and attention. After being interesting and funny, being relatable is the third most powerful driver of online video shareability right now.  
User-generated (UGC) content is some of the most relatable. A staggering 92% of consumers trust organic, UGC more than they trust traditional advertising. More people are creating and uploading videos on TikTok and other platforms than ever before. A particular kind of UGC has seen an especially strong uptick—micro-influencer activity. According to leading social media marketing platform Socialbakers, as the pandemic unfolded, top influencers “were more likely to be authentic, natural types who posted more relatable content that emphasized real-world human situations over aspirational and manicured posts.” In contrast to previous years when mega-influencers and celebrities were in the spotlight, micro-influencers have been stealing the show of late. More than three quarters (77%) of marketers say they want to work with micro-influencers—those who have 5,000 to 100,000 followers—as compared to only 30% wanting to work with mega-influencers—those who have 500,000 to 5 million followers—and 22% wanting to work with celebrities —those who have 5 million followers or more. 

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Cognitive benefits of video 
Binge-watching Netflix is commonly associated with laziness and feelings of regret. But, especially during these times, video has offered several positive benefits. Research by Google has found that “In times of uncertainty, digital video can be a wellspring of positivity”. 79% of U.S. video consumers surveyed by Google found that streaming platforms make them happy, and bring them joy and relief. 
Perhaps this wellspring of positivity is driving increased engagement. According to research by Adobe, video completion rates have been increasing since April, changing course from steady declines that began in early 2019. Most (63%) consumers now say that they always or often finish a piece of video content from start to finish in a single sitting.
While video content might be king, not all types of content have gained traction throughout the pandemic. As a report by Google explains, the types of video content people are consuming during the pandemic is reflective of how people are thinking about their lives right now. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of people say they are re-evaluating their lives and their goals right now. And, as a result, they’re looking to video to learn new skills. More than half of Google’s respondents (58%) reported that they are using digital video to learn new skills. 
To be sure, not all media consumption during the pandemic has been positive—far from it. “Doomscrolling”—reading a long stream of negative and depressing headlines on social media—has become part of our vocabulary since the beginning of the pandemic. Fortunately, it appears that some video content is helping to offset some of the negative impacts of doomscrolling and other harmful social media activities by helping people find positivity or even, paradoxically, helping them “digitally detox.” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has said that YouTube views for guided meditation videos increased by 40% since the pandemic began. And research by Google has found that viewership of videos related to “nature sounds” has increased by 25% as people look for calm amid so much uncertainty and hardship around them. Remarkably, prior research has shown that being virtually exposed to nature such as a virtual forest can decrease stress and rival the benefits of being exposed to real nature settings. 
The future of video 
The pandemic has shown us that the future of video is more than about streaming wars. It’s a battle for how to create content that empowers viewers to engage with relatable content, level up their skills, find happiness, and quell stress. In all likelihood, the trends we’re seeing now will forever change the future of video.

This Young Entrepreneur Is Helping Healthcare Clients Navigate Supply Chain Snafus And Keep Their Teams Safe

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When the coronavirus hit, Sean Kelly saw an opportunity to help. Kelly, who is in his early 20s, was running Jersey Champs, an online store that sells sports and rapper-themed jerseys. He’d grown it into a million-dollar, one-person business after founding it in his dorm room at Rutgers University in 2016. 
But with hospitals and nursing homes unable to secure the PPE they needed in the early days of the crisis and facing price gouging, he sprang into action to use his skills to help get N-95 masks, nitrile gloves and other needed supplies that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration or National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) into their hands at reasonable prices.
Teaming up with a silent partner who had relevant experience, he formed PPE of America, a distributor based in Delaware, and began looking for hospitals and other healthcare providers that needed help. “I would either get a warm intro

Sean Kelly, founder of Jersey Champs, pivoted into selling PPE at his company PPE of America.
Jersey Champs

or send cold emails. We tried cold calls but they didn’t work,” says Kelly. 
The company works directly with procurement professionals at major hospitals, healthcare and government organizations, and first responders such as police, firefighters and emergency medical services. It has set up a form on its website to find out which items are in the greatest need and has been able to arrange donations in some cases.
In 2020, the company brought in $15 million in sales. The margins for products like this are thin, Kelly says, but selling them allows him to help institutions that have been on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus. His company has kept the cost of supplies down by sourcing protective products directly from manufacturers and distributors. His company acts as a middleman that connects sellers to buyers. PPE of America also sells items such as the Orbel personal hand sanitizing device.

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One reason the business has grown so quickly, says Kelly, was that he was able to help hospitals deal with challenging supply chain issues, with shipping from Asia still backed up. “A lot of big hospitals and states never got products they paid for,” he says. 
Many fortunately now have the masks they need. With the second wave of infections, however, he says, “the one thing that’s still lacking is nitrile gloves.” 
Kelly hired two employees to help him grow the company, a website developer and someone who handles customer relationships. Everyone is working remotely. “None of our deals are in-person deals,” he says. 
In the meantime, Kelly continues to run Jersey Champs. He has also begun supplying a shop that musician Steve Aoki runs in Los Angeles with sports trading cards—now hotly sought after by investors. “Gary Vaynerchuk was pushing it really hard on social media,” says Kelly. “I looked into it.” 
When you’re an online entrepreneur operating in a remote environment like today’s, there are so many opportunities, so little time.

Lionel Messi charged more than 500 million euros to play with Barcelona, contract leaked

The Argentine agreement is the most expensive in the history of the sport, as it is estimated that Messi would earn about $ 380,000 a day for four years.
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February 1, 2021 4 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on Alto Nivel
Anyone who does not live under a stone knows that Lionel Messi is one of the most sought-after athletes of the last decade. This Sunday the value of the Argentine footballer was confirmed, who signed the most expensive contract in the history of sport . It is his agreement for four years with FC Barcelona for more than 500 million dollars .
The newspaper El Mundo exclusively published the terms of Messi’s contract , signed on November 25, 2017. The document stipulates a payment of 555,237,619 gross euros (about 674 thousand dollars or 13,790 million Mexican pesos). These would be paid in four seasons , between 2017/2018 and until June 30, 2021, which “constitutes the largest contract in the history of sport .”
They clarify that the amount is “the sum of a fixed salary, image rights, a series of unpublished multimillion-dollar bonuses to date, allowances and a string of variables depending on various objectives .”
The publication indicates that the payment of taxes and Social Security represents about 297 million euros (360 million dollars). That is, more than half of this amount corresponds to the treasury.

According to the Spanish newspaper, the content of the contract between Messi and Barcelona had remained in “the most absolute secret” , until now.
The document consists of 30 pages, divided between an employment contract and an image rights contract . The first covers 85% of the agreed amounts, and the second is 15% of the salary that the Law allows clubs to pay for this concept.
The footballer’s income includes one for contract renewal (115,225,000 euros or 139.6 million dollars), and another for loyalty (78 million euros or 94.6 million dollars). By this time, the Argentine would have already secured the collection of 92% of his contract, says El Mundo .
The economic crisis of the Barça
The information caused a stir because a few weeks ago it was learned that FC Barcelona has a debt of 1,173 million euros . Lionel Messi’s pay is also estimated to double what the team spends   in all of its sports sections.
Last December, Carles Tusquets , president of the FC Barcelona Management Commission, admitted that he wanted to sell Lionel .
“Economically, he would have sold Messi . It would have been the most desirable, and more taking into account the salary limits established by La Liga, ” said Tusquets .
Messi and Barcelona will take legal action
The Catalan team denied having leaked the contract and announced legal actions against the media for “the damages that this publication may cause”, as confirmed by the newspaper El Mundo itself .
In a statement, the Barça team regretted that the agreement “has transcended publicly” , since it is “an exclusively private document” . He pointed out that this is governed by the principle of “confidentiality between the parties .”
The club expressed its “absolute support” for Lionel Messi , “especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image and to deteriorate his relationship with the entity where he has been sportingly trained, until he becomes the best player in football history .
For their part, the 31-year-old footballer’s lawyers are working “in a lawsuit against El Mundo for the publication of the contract,” say sources close to Messi , quoted by EFE agency. The Argentine legal team is studying “to implicate those from within the club who had access to said contract and could have leaked it .”

Chocolate Brand Looks To Carbon Insetting To Transition Farmers To Regenerative Agriculture

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AlterEco’s new foundation hopes to transition its farmers in Ecuador to regenerative farming.
AlterEco
Countless companies are turning to carbon offsetting as a way to reduce their overall carbon footprint. But this chocolate company is going in the other direction: carbon insetting.
Bay Area-based Alter Eco’s supply chain consists primarily of cacao farmers in Central and South America who are living with the consequences of climate change, deforestation, and mono-cropping. So the company has decided to invest funds in these cacao-growing regions, as they transition to regenerative farming, to reduce carbon emissions. It’s helpful for the farmers and builds resilience in the supply chain, one that Mike Forbes, CEO of Alter Eco, says could see the same challenges as coffee: the areas that grow the best coffee (often in shade and along the Equator) will no longer be suitable. “The same can be said for cacao in the coming decades.”
Last fall, this B Corp created a foundation, which has allocated $1.5 million to help farmers pursue agroforestry where cacao is grown amongst a diversity of crops, and ideally, under the canopy of a forest. About 400 of their 1800 cacao farmers in Ecuador have already made the transition; another 1400 remain, which Alter Eco will support in the coming five years with funding, educational tools, and training.
“You cannot reduce greenhouse gasses and mitigate climate change without addressing soil health through better farming practices. These are the foundations for long-term solutions that have real impact,” says Forbes. 

A fresh cacao pod.
AlterEco
Some early data suggests that this could be powerful if more cacao growers, and respective chocolate companies, joined in. Forbes says that regenerative-farmed cacao would increase carbon sequestration by 85 metric tons of CO2 per acre over the next two decades. If that were magnified across the global cacao industry, he argues, that would mean transitioning 30 million acres to agroforestry, resulting in 2.5 gigatons of CO2 being sequestered. “That’s equivalent to removing 30 million cars off the road each year.”

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Cacao is a product that thrives in humid, but warm climates. That’s why it’s often found near or within the Equatorial belt. But Forbes notes in his last visit to Ecuador, he saw farmers putting in irrigation systems because rains had dried up as the temperatures continued to inch higher and higher. Alter Eco gets just under half, of 41 percent of its cacao beans, from a cooperative in Ecuador called UNOCACE. It’s here that they’ll be working with all 1800 farmers to go regenerative.

Agroforesty encourages the use of organic compost, found on the forest floor here, to enrich soils … [+] and retain water.
AlterEco
This has a few benefits, says Forbes, aside from the larger impact on climate. Agroforestry encourages farmers to grow a wider variety of crops. That means not only do they have a better opportunity to sell different goods at varying price points (which Alter Eco estimates has increased their incomes by 25 percent), but their own diets become more nutritious too. Secondly, the yields on regenerative organic cacao increase (after year 4 of transitioning), and that also translates to the potential for better income for growers — especially since their use of fertilizers, external inputs, and irrigated water decreases. Plus, the plant is, arguably, in better health, producing a more desired crop, he adds, which has greater value. There are now studies beginning to make the connection between shade grown cacao and increased yields (with the additional bonus of storing more carbon.)
“All of this adds up to farmer happiness, which is an under appreciated piece of the story,” says Forbes. “I truly believe that inequality and climate change are the two defining challenges of our time. And regenerative agriculture addresses both.”
It’s a work in progress, he says. As Alter Eco Foundation collects data, it’ll look at both the environmental and social impact: water retention, yield of crop, carbon level in soils, but also the social dynamics of farmers. “Are they exchanging knowledge with each other, because that’s just as powerful,” Forbes says. “And definitely more powerful than us sharing stats.”
Alter Eco also works with the Pur Project, which has an agroforestry approach in the Peruvian Amazon. Started by Alter Eco France’s founder Tristan Lecomte, the Pur Project has similar principles of carbon insetting and goals of making cacao production a part of the forest ecosystem, rather than replacing it entirely. 
Although Alter Eco is a small player in the chocolate industry, Forbes hopes that these “pioneering practices” will encourage others to follow. Though Mars, Nestle, Hershey, among others, dominate the industry, Forbes sees opportunity for small, alternative brands like theirs to be the trendsetters when it comes to environmental and social practices.
The word regenerative, though, he acknowledges is being used far and wide these days. And it’s something, he notes, that will require monitoring: “those of us in the industry will have to hold one another accountable to it.”
“I think it’s important to build consumer awareness and demand for products that are farmed differently and better for the planet, but we will have to watch and see how these words are treated,” he says. “Some words like ‘natural’ have been co-opted. I don’t know what that means any more on packaging. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen here with regenerative.”
Packaging is another area where Alter Eco wants to cut its carbon footprint by investing in compostable. “This is not easy because the compostable bag has to work with a printer and make sure the design lasts. It has to work in fulfillment machines. It has to last and endure transport. And it will typically be more expensive.”
Despite the hurdles, Alter Eco has found a non-GMO compostable material for their wrappers: birch and eucalyptus trees with a bit of foil. “It’s a great storytelling piece also when I explain to customers that the truffles are wrapped in birch and eucalyptus.”
Much of this experimentation and investment in environmentally-friendly practices, Forbes says is possible due to the business’ unique investors: Next World, a private equity firm, where exit strategies are not the focus. “So you’ve got a runway to grow in a way that works for the company and its principles. And that runway is a 100 years. It’s not like alot of private equity funds that when they buy it, they want to sell it quickly. You have to have that long-term vision with these kind of challenges.”