All you need to know today.
1. US agrees to pay Pfizer and BioNTech $1.95 billion for Coronavirus vaccines
A new development in the vaccine trial story. Under the agreement, the US will get 100 million doses of the vaccine.
German biotech firm BioNTech and US based Pfizer are jointly developing the vaccine. It was the largest such deal between the government and companies racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
2. Spotify strikes licensing deal with Universal Music Group
Music streaming giant Spotify has signed a new licensing deal with Universal Music Group, which means that money from music labels could potentially come back into Spotify.
The deal secures Spotify’s vast catalog for streaming and signs the label giant on to Spotify’s “two-sided marketplace”. This will also help boost engagement and visibility for the artists within the label onto Spotify’s platform.
Spotify pays out most of its revenue to recorded-music labels and music publishers and has been under pressure from investors to demonstrate ways it can inch toward consistent profitability.
While Spotify has turned the occasional quarterly profit since going public, it has told investors it intends to continue prioritizing investment in growth over profitability.
The latest deal with Universal signals a deeper relationship between the two companies. Universal Music Group will serve as a testing and development partner for the tools, services and marketing products Spotify hopes artists and labels (and Universal itself) will eventually pay for.
“We’re joined at the hip and speaking pretty much daily with each other,”said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.
“We’ll take this experimentation and really drive it forward now with what we know about consumers and what we know about each other’s data.”
3. LinkedIn lays off 960 employees
Ironically, as recruitment falls, Linkedin’s employees are also effected. Business networking site LinkedIn is to cut about 960 jobs worldwide, the cuts will affect about 6% of the company’s workforce.
In a statement on the company’s website, CEO Ryan Roslansky said “LinkedIn is not immune to the effects of the global pandemic. The company’s talent acquisition department will be most affected.
“Our Talent Solutions business continues to be impacted as fewer companies, including ours, need to hire at the same volume they did previously.”
4. Snapchat reports Q2 earnings, revenue surges 17%
Snapchat’s revenue jumped 17% during Q2 earnings. Revenue increased to $454 million vs.$438 million from Wall Street. It also added 9 million new daily users during the period.
Snap’s net loss widened to $326 million, up from $255 million a year ago.
Looking ahead, Snap said it saw 32% yearly revenue growth in the first three weeks of the current quarter. This could indicate that the pandemic induced advertising drought is nearing an end.
The company’s CFO, Derek Anderson, said he was “cautiously optimistic that these trends could sustain over time”.
The company touted growth on its original entertainment strategy, reporting the daily average number of users watching Snapchat Shows in the app increased by more than 45% year-over-year in Q2.
As for what the current advertiser boycott of Facebook means for Snap, chief business officer Jeremi Gorman said the situation has given Snap the opportunity to to tell its “brand-safe” message.