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Significant Digits For Thursday, May 10, 2018

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. Some personal news first, though: I’m leaving FiveThirtyEight to start a forthcoming daily newsletter, Numlock News. SigDig will absolutely continue, but if you’ve been a fan of my run please subscribe!

75 pilots

We’re a week away from the Upfronts, when television networks announce their lineups to advertisers in New York. This is the do-or-die phase of pilot season. There are 75 broadcast pilots competing for time slots this year; only about half will make it to your TV. [Vulture]

77 percent

Walmart is paying $16 billion for a 77 percent stake in Flipkart, the largest e-commerce startup in India. This is the biggest deal in the history of e-commerce, and it should allow Walmart to compete with Amazon in the world’s largest democracy. [BuzzFeed]


Dr. Dre, hip-hop star, has lost a trademark lawsuit against Dr. Drai, gynecologist. Dre, who founded a company that later sold to Apple for $3 billion, objected in 2015 when Dr. Draion Burch tried to trademark “Dr. Drai.” Burch has a brisk business charging $5,000 per speaking engagement and selling his book, “20 Things You May Not Know About A Vagina.” The ruling said Dr. Dre, who is not a medical doctor, failed to demonstrate that people would be confused when purchasing Dr. Drai’s wares. [BBC]


Seattle collected at least $4,082,015 from its new tax on sweetened beverages in its first three months of implementation. The tax is 1.75 cents per fluid ounce. Diet sodas and drinks based on milk are exempt from the tax — it’s only the sugary drinks that are in the crosshairs. Proceeds of the tax go to healthy food programs, learning programs and scholarships. [Seattle Times]

150 million plays

An investigation into TIDAL, the music streaming service, has raised significant questions about the validity of its streaming numbers. In March 2016, TIDAL claimed 250 million streams of Kanye West’s “The Life Of Pablo” over 10 days, and later the company said Beyonce’s “Lemonade” had been streamed 306 million times in its first 15 days. The Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv investigated these eye-popping figures and found evidence of “manipulation of the [TIDAL] data at particular times.” For example, their reports says that 1.3 million subscriber accounts were used to play 150 million duplicates of “The Life of Pablo” tracks at 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. [Music Business Worldwide]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.