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tv   Best of Bloomberg Technology  Bloomberg  December 15, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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>> i am taylor riggs. this is the best of bloomberg technology where we bring you all of our top interviews from this week in tech. coming up, silicon valley is listening to your most intimate moments. smartl discuss at the speaker craze and how vulnerable users are in their conversations being transcribed. plus, best in tech. facebook and google drop out of the top 10 places to work.
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docusign makes the glass door lift. we will talk to the doc you sign ceo about what makes the company so unique. automation, transportation, the self driving semi makes its -- valley islicon listening to your most intimate moments. it is the focus of a bloomberg businessweek in-depth piece about how the smart speaker left users vulnerable to their conversations being transcribed. it was one of their most read stories on the terminal wednesday. i spoke to bloomberg journalists about the story, including the devices, and use of contractors to transcribe intimate conversations. let's hear from austin carr in new york. >> we spoke to dozens of transcribers and contractors. everywhere from ireland to india.
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they had ethical quandaries with the service. they were eavesdropping on a lot of siri alexa customers in order to improve the system's speech recognition by transcribing recordings we submit to the cloud. the fascinating thing was the profound disparity you mentioned. contractors felt it was ethically dubious whereas silicon valley folks we spoke to -- we talked to did not think this was an issue at all despite years of privacy issues. essentiallys as improving quality assurance. one executive at apple who worked on siri describe this as a way of fixing a voice bugs. the bigger question is whether or not they disclosed this to consumers. do they have a sense that humans might be listening to the recording at some point? >> any chance they take this more seriously going forward? >> we have seen more companies issuing disclaimers, but when it comes to companies like facebook
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or apple -- apple in particular says they have privacy at the center of their core values, but this would seem to be an indication that they have not woken up to the fact that users expect more privacy when it comes to interacting with their devices. taylor: let's bring in matt day to explain security concerns that surround amazon. what was interesting to me was they gave the impression about privacy while not actually getting it. your take. >> out of the gate with mark -- smart speakers. they realized that putting microphones in people's homes were to controversial. one of them is the spitting -- spending light on top of an echo speaker to let you know when it is recording. the other was the ability to delete your audio recordings, and imbue those three web portal. they lean hard on that transparency. they were not upfront with the fact that they were using user data as a massive r and d lab,
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to get new ideas launch on alexa for what they were going to and correct errors in the system as it stood. taylor: i want to get to facebook's latest. we are joined by sarah frier. what is interesting is facebook is a newer entrant into the market, why would they get it now? >> after all of the controversy over these listening devices, facebook still felt like it was important to do the same. they did not think of it as a -- as very different from all of the other things they collect from their users. as you scroll, as you type, as you interact on the surface, facebook thinks that you understand they are going to parse through everything you say and do, and use it to make their systems smarter. there is a difference between a machine doing that, and human beings doing that. especially with audio data.
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there is something so intimate about the way this works behind-the-scenes. if it was so natural and obvious to the companies, why did they feel it was not necessary to disclose it to consumers? >> consumers are alarmed. >> given everything else that is going on with the lack of trust in facebook, any sense that customers are trusting facebook with this device? >> they are purchasing it. of sacrifices we will make for convenience and entertainment. i think a lot of people are not aware of the network of contractors that are listening to this audio to do asthmatics plan, quality assurance testing. trying to improve the way speak recognition works. facebook looks like this as an accessibility issue. they want to make sure that all different types of human voices can be recognized by the computers. the fact that they need humans to do this because the machines
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aren't ready, that was not part of the marketing. taylor: i want to bring in garrett, google continues to use humans over some of the technology and some of the contractors instead of real employees. does that help give them cover? >> google is also using contractors. that is a point my colleagues just raised. for me when i first started , learning about this, digging into the story and reading the reports of my colleagues and others, this was mostly being done by contractors. these were not google employees, in some cases they are but mostly it was people employed by different companies, sometimes in countries far away from the headquarters these companies are based in and where they make decisions. with google, that hit home earlier this summer when one contractor in the netherlands walked out of one of his offices, taking with him a bunch
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of voice recordings, gave them to journalists who were able to listen to them and figure out who the actual humans were whose voices were being recorded. those were consumers who were -- those consumers who were not expecting that to be listened to. that is a bit of a scandal. google has said they have paused human transcription of assisted audio, but they need to transcribe these with humans to continue to improve -- to make -- to make sure that it can understand different languages, accents and speech impediments. we start to get the sense that -- does that give us comfort that's not actual humans could be listening in? >> they all wish they could use technology to do the review, but the reliability is, this comes to artificial intelligence, it is still not good enough. you still need humans to double check that these things are learning, that they are
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improving. for the time being, we are going to need humans the same way with tesla cars. there will be accidents, we need human drivers in self-driving cars until we get to the point in the future when the machine can fully take over. taylor: that was bloomberg technology's austin car. an update on the 26 point $5 -- the $26.5 million merger deal. it is currently being challenged by 13 states and the district of columbia in the new york city courtroom. a sprint executive says the wireless provider will not survive much longer without that t-mobile take over because it lacks the resources to update its network and has generally weak business prospects. the company's vice president of network development testifies that "sprint would not be viable within the next two years." the testimony rebuts claims by states that sprint has a viable
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plan b. i spoke to jennifer rie. >> i think that was the worst of the day for the company in terms of this deal. those were bad documents. the chief marketing officer did suggest to other executives at sprint that may be what they could use as part of their negotiating tactic with t-mobile to get a better price was that >> -- t-mobile to get a better price was that the deal would mean an increase of possibly five dollars a month per subscriber. t-mobile was not taking that into account when they were evaluating what they would pay for sprint. he did do a decent job and trying to play this down. it is a very damaging document in terms of the company's case. he said this is just a hypothetical. i didn't do any real studies, i was just guessing. i am just a marketing guy and this is just how marketers think. he did not think that that was something used as part of a negotiation. i would say that that was
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probably the most damaging part of the trial today. taylor: that was bloomberg's jennifer rie. peleton has seen shares fly due -- has seen its shares slide due to one of wall street's active short-sellers. we will find out his reason. if you like bloomberg, check us out on the radio. you can listen on the bloomberg app, online, or sirius xm. ♪
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taylor: shares of peleton taking another hit. this time, it is not due to a widely criticized commercial. it is thanks to one of wall street's most active short-sellers. andrew put out a note saying he sees clear flaws in the peleton business model, and predicts stock will fall nearly 85% next year to five dollars a share. i spoke to andrew left on the phone wednesday. >> people criticize that saying, why don't we look at cost per subscriber? that is difficult with how some of the software. if you see the chart i put out, it shows how much wall street is playing currently for every subscriber of peleton, compared to planet fitness and spotify.
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you can see the ev per subscriber is over $15,000 for peleton. match.com is $2100. taylor: we are showing that chart there which you can see is on a per value per subscriber basis. it certainly does look overvalued. i want to break that down a little bit. if you increase subscribers of --, the denominator goes up, the ratio falls. that is pretty much what people are buying this company on, their growth stock. people are not buying it on current subscribers, they are arguably buying on future subscribers. would you say to that? >> it is not like -- fair enough, but this business has already taken the low hanging fruit. we know who bought the first 500,000 bikes, the problem is who's going to buy the next 500,000 bikes? the treadmill they introduced is a flop. they are behind the curve on the rest of the equipment. you can see that with all the
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equipment coming out from their competitors. they are not there. it is extremely competitive, and most importantly now with their digital offering, they are giving for $12.95 what -- when you buy the bike, you have to pay $39.95. if you are value conscious, you can buy a bike for $700 and still enjoy the peleton experience. that is peleton digital. the ceo said that was their lead generation way of doing it. that seemed sloppy peleton -- you can enjoy peleton and not pay $2000 per bike. ?aylor: are you short peleton >> short peleton. if peleton ends up being a billion-dollar company, that is their major success, the spin bike. they did not create the spin bike, or streaming classes. if it is a 2 billion-dollar company, that would be huge. i do not know why wall street has to think this is going to be
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a 9 billion-dollar or 10 billion-dollar company. taylor: we have tried to repeatedly reach out to management and peleton for comments we have not heard back. , andrew, would you buy peleton at five dollars a share? >> no. that's like saying would you buy fitbit or gopro, it is dead money. the best days now are in the rearview mirror. if it was five dollars a share, i take that back to cover some of my short. [laughter] by the way, this is not a knock on the product. it is just not a 10 billion-dollar product. this is going to wind up a 1.5 billion-dollar company. taylor: i want you to take a look at a chart i am showing here. andrew, to describe for you, you know the story. it is the share price versus the short interest which is now 66%.
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it is one of the companies that have ipo'd over a billion dollars. >> if it is crowded, it is crowded. you always have to properly allocate when you are a short seller. the thesis is, i would never own a stock because it is a crowded short. there is nothing they can do to turn this business around. -- unless they create a bike that works out for you. other than that, they are not going to be a $9 billion-10 billion-dollar spin by company a -- spin bike company a year from now. taylor: i want to get some of the conversation. analysts at oppenheimer really highlighted that lower-priced terminal that could come out into the future. if they do a lower-priced treadmill, and you hit a mass-market, how does that impact your position, given you could see this company hit a critical mass? >> no doubt, they are going to put out a lower-priced treadmill
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either later this year or next year. the more expensive one flopped. they have to, because the treadmill is a much more popular piece of equipment than a bike. understand that this does not fall off the cliff, this is just decelerating growth. i was in the mall, and the peleton store was empty. this is not something for -- this is not because people are not buying palatines, but they have picked the low hanging fruit. of course you're going to put out a treadmill ended it -- and it is going to sell, but it is going to compete. you can put out the peleton digital with a $700 treadmill. it is going to be bad for peleton. taylor: does the announcement of a rowing machine change your thesis? >> everyone has a rowing machine. the competition echelon behind them has like six different
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skews. peleton was preparing for ipo high-fiving in introducing their treadmill their competition has , completely surpassed the offerings of peleton. tonal is a super cool idea. innovative, unique, space-saving. these are all technologies that peleton have not taken advantage of. important, the c5, or think 30 in terms of stock prices instead of thinking peleton will end up a 1.5 billion-dollar company. taylor: that was andrew left. coming up, intel surprises the public by releasing information it could have kept secret. we will find out what that is. later, viral video app tictoc -- tiktok has canceled meetings with a senator over immense scrutiny over privacy data
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concerns. we will find out why the company pulled the plug. this is bloomberg. ♪
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taylor: an unusual move for intel, their the willingly first two disclose what is normally private data. it's paying a quality data. -- pay inequality data. in a report tuesday, intel released data about a pay disparity in 2017 and 2018. the company provided the data to the u.s. equal employment opportunity commission. the results are not flattering. jeff green joined me to discuss. >> weep we probably didn't learn anything that was a big surprise by looking at the numbers. the surprises that we can see -- the surprise is that we can see the numbers at all. this is data that every company had to release as of september, but intel may be the only one -- at least so far -- who shared it with us.
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we are getting to see the macro information that feeds into what you would think of as median income. this show where women are and where men are. as you said, it is not flattering, but it is the first step to figuring out where the problems are. taylor: where are the biggest problems? >> where you would expect. white men and asian men make the top paying jobs, and women are clustered in the lower paying jobs. it is a structural problem in society, particularly in tech. that is what intel says they want to bring to light. if the industry has a problem, they are willing to share theirs. taylor: it was notable that intel is openly sharing more data than they need to. what is intel trying to tell us about why they are doing this? >> they are admitting that this exposes them to vulnerability. they got beat up today. those charts do not look awesome. for some people, this is a revelation.
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it is kind of a fresh attack. their bang -- their thought is that this only gets fixed if everybody is pulling in the same direction. they need pressure to be on everyone to look at this structurally and figure out what is wrong. also, on themselves. they put a part of their pay down on top executives for fixing this. there is external pressure now for everyone to be able to look, employees included, and see how this plays out. taylor: do you think it creates enough pressure where other tech companies would step in and do the same? >> not of some of the recent -- not if some of the recent examples are any evidence. citigroup did this with median pay and there has not been a flood of banks joining them. uber just give a report last week saying this is how many assaults we have had. it is not like every other platform has said here are our numbers. you start to add these things up potentially, may be a regulator or a change in government might weigh in.
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people who get ahead of this might have a way -- an ability to shape it. it is a loss/leader kind of thing where you are -- you are taking the risk out of the gate that may pay off in the future. taylor: these results in 2017 and 2018, as you know. any indication that 2019 could have been better? >> we will never know. this data was collected under a program that was brought forth by the obama administration. the trump administration has said we do not need to continue this, it is too hard on companies. this data in its current form is not going to be collected for 2019. we will have to see if there will be a new program, or if companies will come up something voluntary. that is the sad part about this. this data is really interesting, and we may never get a chance to see it again. taylor: jeff, do they offer any potential solutions on how to be the first to try to fix a problem? >> one of the things they pointed out is that the industry is about 26% women, or that is what is available.
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they made it a goal to have 26% of their employees women, which they met last year. but their top executives are only 20% women, so one of the ways to change this ratio is by making 26% of the executives women because that is going to push more women into these higher-paying jobs. and then it is just math. you need is more women in higher-paying jobs than lower paying jobs. that has been something particularly intact, but in -- but in every industry has not happened. the overall pay difference in the u.s. is women make $.81 on the dollar compared to men. this is being able to see it one person at a time. taylor: i am not sure if you will, or anyone can answer this. i am originally from new york and we thought this was a big problem in finance. we come to san francisco and find out that tech is worse. why is tech the biggest sector struggling with this?
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>> who you get coming out of college who wants to go into these jobs? you get the graduates, but then they come into the industry and from everything i have seen, the data i look at, they do not stay. they say i can go somewhere else with this expertise, because everybody needs tech. they go somewhere else and they are treated better. would you have to create an to create an environment. you can call if you think you need to leave and you can talk somebody into they are collecting that data and trying to figure out why people want to leave. taylor: that was bloomberg's jeff green. coming up, officials from tiktok were supposed to meet with senators pressing them over security concerns. we will get into why it is not happening. bloomberg technology is live streaming. be sure to follow our global breaking news network. this is bloomberg. ♪ [ dramatic music ]
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this holiday... ahhhhh!!! -ahhhhh!!! a distant friend returns... elliott. you came back! and while lots of things have changed... wooooah! -woah! it's called the internet. some things haven't. get ready for a reunion 3 million light years in the making. woohoo! -yeah!
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taylor: welcome back to the blast -- the best of bloomberg technology. naturally continued look at the united states versus tictoc. the app is under pressure from politicians who are worried about it security and user privacy practices. executives from tiktok have canceled a number of meetings with u.s. senators that were set to take place in washington this week. .loomberg's paul allen >> we told -- we are told these are delayed and will be rescheduled in the new year. may of the issue, as you
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have heard is there are other things going on in washington, d.c. with the potential impeachment of the president. as a result, i think the feeling from the tiktok side was that there was a lot going on, probably not the best time to be having these meetings. some of these senators are curious why they pulled the plug, but in theory we should be hearing about these again in 2020. >> when those meetings do take place, what kinds of questions are the senators going to want answered? >> all of the biggest questions right now have to do with user privacy and data storage. -- which is ad by chinese technology company. there is a lot of concern about where this this information being stored? is it being stored in the united states? really just talking to the company. this is a relatively new company to most of the united states, but to most politicians.
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getting basic questions answered about how the business works, where the data is collected and where it is stored is going to be the primary purpose. it seems like -- taylor: it seems like we have had a few moments of what seemed like progress. in terms oftok responding to concerns? proactive andeen they want to have discussions the fact that they were going to d.c. this week was a signal that they were willing to answer some of these questions. obviously, we will wait to see if these meetings to get rescheduled to confirm that they are seriously going to answer the questions. this is a really popular app in the u.s., and things are going well for the company. they want that to continue. they realize that they have to play ball a little bit. i would be surprised if they ultimately bail on these meetings, i think it is an
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important dialogue to be having. of the settlement from that case, that seems like small change, really. wasn't that surprising to people who bought the action? taylor: you're right, -- nine >> this is basically $1.1 million in the world of technology, it is pretty much nothing. this is a slap on the wrist. we were describing facebook's settlement earlier this year as a slap on the wrist. when you think about $1 million, it does not do much. what i think we are seeing is that this is a sign that these issues are coming top to mind after many years. even if it is a nominal amount, there is some kind of decision areg made, and companies being held to some extent accountable. we have spoken to marsha blackburn of tennessee who has
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come about -- come out and been a big critic of in app purchases. again, it seems like small progress, but in the bigger picture, how much is it really doing? >> senator blackburn was one of the politicians that tictoc was supposed to meet with. something also saw similar last week with instagram. actually requiring users to enter their age when they create an account so that you cannot create an account if you are under 13 years all, which is always the rule, but was never enforced. it is a third -- is an 13 euro going to create an instagram account? probably not come about that at the very least these companies are putting in safety measures that they should've had all along, now they are being called out on it. in many cases, they are following through. >> does any of this have to do
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with the u.s. regulator also investigating? >> it is hard to imagine that it is not a point of discussion here. the -- excuseat me the acquisition which was an app in the u.s. which has now --n merged with i am being told there are conversations with them and the regulatory body. here, you haveok to be very careful. there's a little bit more that regulars can do. they can block something. this is an acquisition that happened two years ago. it is well past the point of being able to be blocked. now it is a question of what types of guardrails can be put up. what stipulations can they impose upon someone like tiktok?
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i have to imagine that's top of mind. taylor: that was bloomberg's kurt wagner. coming up, facebook will remain the top target of digital advertiser spending according to bloomberg intelligence. so how much of the credit goes to instagram? we will discuss. later, the first cross-country commercial freight run in a self-driving truck. we will hear from its cofounder. this is bloomberg. ♪
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taylor: instagram's stories are making significant contributions to facebook. according to a report, instagram is drawing almost 10% of all ad spending at the end of the third quarter. the report also stated advertiser spending on instagram stories jumped almost 70% from
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the prior year. to discuss, we were joined by eric haggstrom of emarketer and also bloomberg technology's sarah frier, who covers facebook. sarah: it goes to show advertisers are starting to catch on to this new user behavior. people increasingly are posting these more ephemeral forms like stories. where does were casual. on stories advertisers have been , slow to catch on. we have seen facebook talk about that, that we should not expect advertisers to fully be participating in that format for a while. so this is a good sign for facebook, that the revenue is catching up. taylor: eric, in your opinion, how much of an increase is this, prior to relative years? eric: well, first off, stories only launched in 2016. they really just started monetizing them this year. the growth is relatively rapid. instagram is growing at 16% and
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will account for 20% of worldwide revenue. that is going to be higher in the u.s. specifically, around 30%. when you look at instagram stories, not much monetization -- monetization is happening within the u.s.. taylor: to play off of that, if the stories are monetizing well, do we expect the next logical move to be to go overseas? when we start to see monetization abroad? sara: i think you will see more monetization from instagram in general. the problem is users are increasingly migrating to the ephemeral format and not posting as much on the main page. the main feed has ads that are much more expensive, so the overall advertising price has been depressed because of this shift to stories.
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maybe once it becomes more natural, you will see that improve over time. taylor: eric, is this a good sign that, as long as they are monetizing it and ad revenue is rising, is that really what matters? eric: it does appear that it would cannibalize some spending from the instagram newsfeed, which takes a higher price, currently. that really has not happened, and advertisers are just generally increasing spending. whether it is on instagram newsfeeds, instagram stories, or of course the normal facebook app as well. taylor: eric, do these things actually work? i see ads, but are people clicking on them? are they buying products? is it translating into actual dollars? >> first off, facebook, instagram, they have great tools for advertisers.
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when you look at attribution, they really are ahead of the pack, in a lot of ways. if someone saw an ad to whether or not they made a purchase. shopable will- ads will be even more important moving forward. that something closer to the consumer as well. a lot of the ads are brand building. there are a ton of options and tools for advertisers who need to improve roi and prove that their advertising is effective. taylor: that was eric haggstrom of emarketer and sarah frier of bloomberg technology. a bad year for the global tv industry, with sales falling almost 4% in 2019. that is the steepest drop since the recession a decade ago. advertisers are following users to the internet, but there are some winners.
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i spoke to dallas lawrence of channel factory, a marketing technology company, on monday. dallas: what we are seeing is just a maturation of television advertising. the dollars are finally following consumer idol. as they migrate away from linear television to streaming television. what we know is six out of 12 adults stream, watching more streaming content than they do linear. -- watching twice as much streaming content as they do linear content. that is not even taking into account the number of adults that say they will either cut the cord or have already. you look that the holiday season now, a third of consumers say they will watch zero live television during the holidays. a real challenge for marketers who spend 95% of the tv budget in the linear tv channels is becoming very aware of those dollars are moving towards where the streamers are going. and there's going to be some winners and losers. taylor: dallas, that is a
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fascinating statistic. you are going to watch zero ads of live tv, zero hours of live tv this holiday season. is that a new statistic? dallas: it is. a new survey came out the harris poll researching consumers that says fully a third say they will watch zero live television. the races to watch her interesting. there are ad races to watch as three we try to sum up who is going to be the winner in the $75 billion ad race. you have the platform race, content race, and the data race. on the platform side, roku is the number one smart tv operating system in the world. hundreds of apps utilized roku. roku sells those ads for the apps. their advertising business is up 80% year-over-year. on the content side, a couple of platforms like hulu which is owned by disney and pluto tv which is owned by viacom that have really leaned into the ad-supported model versus the subscription-supported model. a majority of consumers support an ad-supported model rather than subscription-based.
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which is why you see hulu, 70% of their users are ad supported. the last, which get the least amount of attention is the data race. television advertising today is bought and sold the way we have been doing it for 30 years. off a few thousand set-top boxes on nielsen that are trying to extrapolate the behaviors of 300 million americans. marketers are saying that does not work. we have begun seeing companies, like samba tv, for example, a company that has software on most television manufacturers and devices. they are in 25 million televisions across the world. they are able to provide real-time data for marketers, a breadth and depth that has never before been available, that is driving higher roi for the marketers. for no other reason, we will see ad dollars continue to migrate to streaming and smart-connected devices simply because they work better. taylor: dallas, i want to break down three of those that you just touched on, one of which is roku. you take a look inside my terminal, it is the stock of roku and the average analyst price target. the trend is up, but it has been
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a volatile story as investors try to figure out what streaming wars mean for roku. do you believe that you cannot launch a streaming platform unless you also do it with roku? dallas: i think roku is the undoubted winner here in the streaming wars as we think about what happens in the next couple of months and what has already happened. you look at disney plus, for example. disney was seeing a million downloads. during that same timeframe, roku downloads were up 50%. people were actually going to get the roku operating system so they could then access disney plus. so they are uniquely positioned in the ecosystem today to benefit from the $8 billion to $10 billion of content that is going to be spent, because you need to watch it on a platform. disney does not have a platform that you can watch it on. neither does netflix. you will be going to your roku device. you have seen the roku television. it is the number one tv operating system in the world. you can buy a 55-inch smart 4k tv for $200. they are really in a great
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position in the market today. taylor: you talk about some of the winners, namely hulu, which makes me wonder if it is a price or content? do i like hulu because it is four dollars, five dollars a month and not $15 a month? or is it a content story? dallas: i think what hulu has done well is they are having their cake and eating it too. they are offering the user either the subscription model that has no ads or the ad-based model. so the user is actually getting to pick and choose what they want. we have seen some polling that 58% of u.s. consumers prefer an ad-supported model, around five dollars, six dollars a month. and about 40% prefer subscription-based model. the challenge -- we did not talk about the losers, but i think the real challenge has to be for netflix. i said i believe netflix will have to introduce an advertising-supported model. they have reached a saturation point in the united states with subscribers. they cannot raise their price any higher with disney
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undercutting them at less than half the price. what hulu has done is they have read the market and understand there is an appetite for both, and they offered both. taylor: that was a dallas lawrence of channel factory. still ahead, 40,000 pounds of butter delivered cross-country in a self-driving truck. we will learn how that happened, next. this is bloomberg. ♪
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taylor: glassdoor's annual list of the best places to work saw big tech names like google and facebook drop out of the top 10. others rose to the top. docusign landed the number three spot. i sat down with ceo dan springer on wednesday. dan: i think our employees have spoken that there are a couple of things we have gotten right. we have created an exciting vision. we can go beyond what most know is for an have a broad platform to build on.
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two, with our docusign impact investment, we have given people a reason to be proud of working at our company. we have announced a new product to try and be a process of role player and what's going on with global warming. and people love working at a company, because they hear stories from customers all the time. those of the things i think make people -- taylor: we just heard that culture starts at the top. what is your number one piece of advice in terms of the tone you are setting? dan: two things. go to a company that is already fabulous, it makes your job a lot easier, and i did that. but in terms of the parts that improve the culture, we do a lot to understand what our employees want to make this the best place
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they have ever worked. this is the work of their lives, as we say, and then try to deliver on that component. taylor: i want to talk about the fundamentals of your company. you went public in april 2018. it's been a while, but i hear a lot of ceo's saying, "thank god i went public when i did." the environment today is so difficult. are you happy you went public when you did? dan: i have a somewhat contrarian view. i think companies should go public when they are ready and not try to time the market. you have to make sure you have the right controls in place. we are fortunate that i think we went out at a time that some of the challenges today -- we did not have to give a lot of thought to, do we want to do a direct listing? a traditional ipo is now on the minds of everyone going public. but for us, it was a good time. we have gotten behind the choppiness of last year and can grow very well going forward. taylor: you know, docusign is
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not profitable just yet. do you get a lot of pressure to be profitable? dan: we are profitable on a non-gap basis. but i do think we get investors now telling us that growth is the number one imperative. we are focused on doing that. i told you we are trying to build the agreement cloud, the next big thing, and will focus on growth. but investors want the path to profitability. and what we have shown is that with our high gross margin, we are going to be high-growth, but also a profitable organization. taylor: that was docusign ceo dan springer. a coast-to-coast holiday freight run with 40,000 pounds of butter. that's what plus.ai did with this truck. a provider of technology, plus.ai completed the first cross-country haul in three days. to explain what had happened, we
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were joined by the co-founder and chief operating officer shawn kerrigan on tuesday. shawn: the vast majority was autonomous, so it drove from california to pennsylvania. there are federal rules around rest breaks and so on. but all of our trucks are staffed with both a safety driver and an operations specialist so we had to follow all of the federal rules for that. aside from things like crew changes, or there were certain segments, like road construction that the pennsylvania d.o.t. asked us to drive through in manual. but aside from that, it was mostly autonomous. taylor: what are companies telling you about the cost savings? shawn: people are excited and interested in the technology. as you know will be sometime for the technology is fully released as a product. but there will be tremendous benefits in terms of safety and
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cost. that is what we were setting out to demonstrate in this run, going up through the rockies and the great plains. demonstrating the overall reliability and safety. taylor: what is your relationship like with policymakers? you mentioned working with the pennsylvania department of transportation. how do you ensure you are working with them and getting responsible regulation? shawn: we try to be very proactive in working with different regulators. earlier this year, we reached out to the state d.o.t.'s in all lower 48 states. we also announced a partnership with the minnesota d.o.t. around testing. what we find is actually quite encouraging. that from a regular standpoint, -- from a regulators standpoint there's a lot of interest in , supporting the technology.
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again, because of safety. this technology has tremendous potential in terms of safety on the road. taylor: is safety the biggest question you get from regulators? shawn: i think there are a lot of questions, but safety is one. how do you demonstrate the safety of the systems? by doing runs like this, demonstrating that it works. taylor: i spoke with a guest from stanford, she came from spacex. she was walking me through the height curve says we are in the cross of disillusionment. this will take way longer than any of us expected. on your timeline, where are we in reaching true economy, level -- true autonomy level 4, level 5? shawn: we are focused on level four autonomy. the ability to go from distribution hub to highway, to the highway, and a distribution hub on the other side. fully autonomous with better safety and lower costs. we see the timeline for that is around 2023. that is not just a function of when our technology is ready.
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also a function of when our partners are ready. that's why this run was so important. it's the timeline for when things like the platforms we build on are ready for autonomous systems. in terms of redundant systems for electrical and other components, the timeline for redundancy of components, so things like brakes and steering, you need redundant actuators in there. as well as the timeline on the regulation front. the timeline for those regulations to fall in front as you look across all of those, 2023 is when we think it will light up. -- line up. taylor: that was shawn kerrigan, plus.ai cofounder and coo. that does it for this edition of "the best of bloomberg technology." we are livestreaming on twitter. we'll bring you the latest. tune in at each day at 5:00 p.m.. bloomberg technology is live streaming on twitter.
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