The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

In SoCal business news: 'Blackfish' impact on SeaWorld, Rubicon's IPO, a Google Glass class

Killer Whales performing at SeaWorld. The Los Angeles Times reports SeaWorld attendance was down 13 percent in the first quarter.
Killer Whales performing at SeaWorld. The Los Angeles Times reports SeaWorld attendance was down 13 percent in the first quarter. flickr/MomMaven

Good morning! Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday, our staff compiles a list of interesting business stories in the region.

  • Is the film Blackfish scaring away SeaWorld visitors? Los Angeles Times reporter Hugo Martin says SeaWorld attendance dropped 13 percent to 3.05 million visitors in the first quarter compared to a year ago. Martin says executives said in the past that Blackfish didn't cause business to decline. The film is critical about the way SeaWorld treats its killer whales and it has caused some consumers like Kirra Kotler from Malibu to think twice about visiting the theme park. Kotler convinced her school to cancel their trip to SeaWorld San Diego and go on a whale-watching trip instead (NPR).
  • AwesomenessTV bought YouTube network Big Frame for $15 million (The Wrap). Reporter Lucas Shaw says combined, the companies will have 80 million subscribers on YouTube. Last year, I reported DreamWorks Animation purchased teen Youtube network AwesomesnessTV in a deal that could reach $117 million.
  • Meanwhile, director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer and Discovery partnered to start an L.A.-based digital studio that produces online short-form videos (The Wrap)
  • Playa Vista-based Rubicon Project raised $81.3 million in "new capital" in its IPO (PandoDaily). Reporter Michael Carney says it shows that the L.A. start-up scene is doing well, with Disney's plans to buy Maker Studios and Facebook's upcoming purchase of Irvine-based Oculus.
  • U-Can Zippers in Long Beach is of the few zipper companies in the Western United States (LA Weekly). LA Weekly's James Bartlett says U-Can sold 2 million to 3 million zippers last year.
  • Orange County Visitors Association opened an office in Dubai, becoming the first U.S. regional tourism group to do so (Orange County Register). Southern California businesses have pulled out all the stops for foreign tourists because they tend to spend more money.
  • Another home delivery grocery service comes to L.A. Instacart delivers Whole Foods groceries to the doors of online shoppers (Los Angeles Times). Reporter Andrea Chang says Instacart is is crowd-sourced, using personal shoppers to buy your groceries for you. Last year, Amazon launched its own online grocery business in L.A. (KPCC).
  • Want to figure out how to work Google Glass into journalism? There's a class for that at USC, that will delve into "developing Glass-centric software for journalists" (Fast Company). Professor Robert Hernandez says in the article, "I'm not drinking the Google Kool-Aid. But it's the most mature wearable platform that's out there. And we need to be proactive and figure it out."  We'll see about that. 

Got business news? Tweet me @thewendylee.

Clarification: An earlier version of this post included information from an LA Weekly article stating U-Can is the only zipper company in the Western United States. Though there are other zipper companies based in the Western U.S., U-Can told KPCC it is the only such outlet with a full-service factory based here. 

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