business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Sprouts Farmers Market announced that it is partnering with Instacart "to launch FoodStorm, Instacart’s order management system (OMS), across more than 400 Sprouts locations. The new partnership will help streamline Sprouts' existing catering operations and modernize its holiday inventory management, ensuring a seamless holiday season experience for its customers and store team members."

•  From the New York Times:

"Uber on Tuesday reported financial results that showed its business was continuing to steadily chug along - and even turn a profit - as more riders and drivers used its platform than ever before. The company had $9.3 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter, lower than Wall Street investors expected but an 11 percent increase from a year earlier, and generated $221 million in net income. That was Uber’s second straight quarterly profit on the strength of its own business operations - rather than from its investments in other companies - a milestone for a company that had long faced questions about its profitability."

•  From TechCrunch, a story about how Amazon and Rivian no longer are going steady:

"The automaker said on Tuesday that it will now let other companies buy its commercial electric vans, ending an exclusivity deal that Amazon secured when it pumped more than a billion dollars into Rivian in 2019. Both companies’ stock prices rose following the announcement, which they timed with Rivian’s third-quarter earnings report.

"Rivian was in talks with Amazon back in March to strip out their exclusivity clause ahead of time. The original exclusivity arrangement was set to end after Rivian delivered a total of 100,000 electric vans, sometime before the end of the decade. Rivian said during its investor call that it still plans to come through on Amazon’s goal … Amazon boasted in October that it had 10,000 Rivian-built vans on roads, meeting a 2023 sales threshold set by the companies."

•  Amazon's investment of $11 billion for an 11-year package of National Football League games may be paying off.

Variety reports that "Amazon’s Prime Video has sold out all the commercial inventory attached to its new 'Black Friday' game, the first event the NFL has earmarked for the day after Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday-shopping season, according to Danielle Carney, head of NFL ad-sales for the company. Amazon has also sold out of ad inventory in the 'Thursday Night Football' games slated for November 16 and November 30, she says, in part because the company has tried to sell broader ad packages that connect an ad message across a broader swath of content."

In addition to the Thursday Night Football games, Amazon will carry a Black Friday game this year, the first time the NFL has scheduled a game for the day after Thanksgiving.  The story notes that "Amazon will open the 'Black Friday' game to anyone who wants to watch it, not just the company’s Prime members. The move is likely to broaden the audience for the event."

Variety writes that "Amazon’s sales drive comes amid a sluggish TV-advertising market overall. Analysts have noted that 'scatter,' or ad time purchased much closer to the time commercials air, has been tepid  -  a hangover for the media sector, which has seen the flow of ad dollars for its properties narrow amid Hollywood labor strikes and concerns about the economy."

Let's not forget - traditionally, Prime members spend more on Amazon than non-Prime members.  So if Amazon can convert more people to Prime membership, that adds dollars to the bottom line, and makes the $11 billion investment worthwhile.