Dealer Families Dealing, Disney Keeping Dreams Alive, Ethereum Approaching A Big Day

August 11, 2022
We hope you’re up and at ‘em this Thursday as we share a great story about a recent acquisition deal between two families on a handshake. We also cover Disney’s moves in streaming and theme parks to keep consumers happy, as well as a big day coming for cryptocurrency Ethereum.
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ASOTU CON Host, Ciocca Dealerships closed on the acquisition of six stores in Flemington, NJ

  • Owner Gregg Ciocca Sr grew up near the “Flemington Car and Truck Country” founded by the late Steve Kalafer and knew him personally
  • Steve Kalafer, a prominent dealer known for speaking out against stair-step incentive and other automaker programs that he thought disadvantaged retailers, also founded a minor league baseball team and attained national acclaim for producing short films.
  • The stores have been run by Kaalafer’s two sons since his death in 2021
  • "It was really two family businesses that just shook hands very quickly," Ciocca said. "They wanted a good family to take over their great family business. So I felt very privileged and fortunate they chose me and my Ciocca family, my three sons, to be the stewards of that business, which is a high-performing dealer group."
  • Ciocca ranks #83 on the most recent AN top 150 list
  • Take away: What other industry is like this? Come meet Gregg in person at ASOTU CON!

Disney’s earnings and streaming prices up as well as theme park traffic and streaming subscribers

  • Revenue is up to a higher than expected 26% which caused the stock price to jump 7% in after hours trading
  • Subscribers to Disney + were up however the company slightly lowered future expectations
  • When combining all streaming properties (D+, Hulu, ESPN+) Disney now has over 221M subs,  surpassing than Netflix
  • Theme park traffic is very strong albeit they are unable to staff to capacity
  • Profit margins are higher than ever as spend per guest have risen significantly, helped by lower labor costs and tech introductions of Lightning Lane and Genie + which allow park visitors to map out their plans for the day and make reservations at restaurants, among other services
  • Disney also outlined new pricing to make room for the ad supported tier of Disney+

Cryptocurrency Ethereum executed successful test of its historic test ‘merge’

  • Shifting from ‘proof of work’ to ‘proof of stake’, once the transition is complete, the currency will become far more efficient and inexpensive to transact on while using 99.95% less energy
  • Unlike Bitcoin which is just an asset to hold and trade, ETH is a utility which can be used to carry and deploy smart contracts
  • The price of ETH reached over $1900 overnight which is up from recent low of $879 in June which is down from all time high around $4800 in Nov 2021
  • Take away:


Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly

Paul Daly  00:23

Yo, it's not quite Throwback Thursday. But today we are talking about dealers, making acquisition deals on a handshake, Disney keeping dreams alive. And Aetherium the cryptocurrency have been a very, very big day.

Kyle Mountsier  00:38

What's unexpected? I didn't know it was coming.

Paul Daly  00:44

I don't know if that's how Aetherium experts would talk. But I am watching Stranger Things right now. And so like, He's really He's in like now

Kyle Mountsier  00:54

it would be much more likely. So we had a very big day. So we have something to report on. And it was very nice. I don't know why I just started.

Paul Daly  01:04

I don't know how we do somehow that happened.

Kyle Mountsier  01:08

I don't know. We're gonna plot every accident we can. And the fish? Oh, well, we

Paul Daly  01:14

hope you're having a great Thursday. A lot of good things are happening around here. If you're coming to a soda con, go to the website right now, and click on agenda. Because there are a lot of sessions and titles and people so a soda You can go there and get a lot of the details you did not have because Mr. MT SEER here happened to do a lot of work on the website yesterday. By the way, hold on, let me just say this, if you appreciate how awesome the asoto Khan website is, which I do, you should thank Mr. Monster here because he built that whole stinking thing. I'm impressed by it. I love it. When I'm proud to send someone to a website, I'm affiliated with Nim,

Kyle Mountsier  01:56

there we go, I appreciate it. There was some template there. But you know, it was fun to kind of like mess with that and play around and take some cues from our design and all that. So, you know, it's one of those things where you don't ever expect to, to just build a website, you know, out of nothing. And then it's like, Alright, we gotta get this done. Right. So yeah,

Paul Daly  02:16

we just did it. You know why? Because, like, we do a lot of the things we do, because it'll just be faster if we figure it out, then if we go, which is really not a great, not a great strategy when trying to scale a business as fast as we are.

Kyle Mountsier  02:31

Yes, you know, I'm gonna say this yesterday, I had a conversation yesterday afternoon with someone that's in the industry partner world and the like retailing and digital retailing world. And they're like, so tell me a little bit about the sessions like are you going to dig into some of you know, the, the hot topics today, like agency model or OEM relationships or the way that that we do retailing in the showroom? And the answer is absolutely yes. Actually, as I was putting you even know who we are, I was like I was even I kind of like bit my tongue a little bit.

Paul Daly  03:07

I'm gonna get in trouble with this one will be dicey. Get in Trouble this one yes, we're gonna get in trouble at this one. It is not you know, you might think it might be a marketing conference because Kyle and I benchmark to marketing a lot or at least have a lot in our careers. But we are covering the whole gamut of operations and sales and company culture and marketing. Tic TOCs gotta be there brother.

Kyle Mountsier  03:29

Come on.

Paul Daly  03:30

Man, we're gonna help you make better tic TOCs as well. We're going to help you open a cryptocurrency wallet if you don't have one. I mean, look, this is a place where you're going to come you're going to learn stuff, you're going to walk away with insights and more than that you're going to walk away with a lot of relationships that you didn't have before because so many troublemakers are coming to this for sold out of industry parking tickets. There's still dealer tickets available if you're a dealer and you want to come or your manager and you want to come i we might do people come on gosh Oh, especially if you're within driving distance to Philly No telling

Kyle Mountsier  04:00

you what Yeah, I actually I think 90% of the tickets that were purchased yesterday from dealers were within driving distance so that's awesome. Yeah, I love that share for those are those in that area or if you know people in that area it is because it's such a short timeline you know if you're in driving distance and you're getting tickets even even staying at the hotel you're you're in it for extremely inexpensive for some seriously high quality conversation no

Paul Daly  04:27

doubt how many how many rooftops would you estimate that we're up to as far as represented from dealer rooftops represented at this event so far?

Kyle Mountsier  04:34

I think somewhere in the like 800 to 1000 Oh Snap pretty well and

Paul Daly  04:39

we're just getting started to we still have some people that are that are coming in we're trying to get to come. That rooftop count is going to go up even more but we're already close to 1000 rooftops I have a story right now speaking of rooftops increasing.

Kyle Mountsier  04:56

good segue into a first story

Paul Daly  05:00

It this is a great segue because the host of the Monday or the Sunday night reception, Gracie Oka and the CEO Kia dealerships you see the picture on the screen if you if you're watching with him, his three sons and his lovely wife. Listen, he's hosting the event at that superstore you saw on the picture behind. He's been so gracious longtime friend, one of the best dealers I've ever met in my life and they just announced the acquisition of another six stores in Flemington, New Jersey. So the rooftop count just went up by six the a position but um, so this story is so quintessential car business, which is we thought it'd be cool to share just because you know, Mr. siopa is going to be hosting the event is going to be a part of the event, just very open handling and graciously but also, he grew up near Flemington Car and Truck Country, which is the name of the group that he acquired, was originally founded by the late Steve, California. And Greg knew him personally. And he was a prominent here get this from the automotive news article this morning, a prominent dealer known for speaking out against stairstep instead of an other automaker programs that he thought disadvantaged retailers, He also founded a minor league baseball team and attain national acclaim for producing short films. If that's not a troublemaker, I don't know. On troublemaking

Kyle Mountsier  06:17

right there. I mean, commit. And here's the thing. So he in there, obviously, Steve passed away in 2021. But that means that before anything like inventory issues, or anything like that, he was saying now these stairs, that things actually, for me as a retailer, as a business owner, and that's not good. And that's a that's, that's called a shot,

Paul Daly  06:43

right? Sure is, and there's two sons have been running the stores. But you know, sometimes you just you just can't replace that and you don't have, you don't have what you think the store is needed to go to the next level. So Mr. Silca, in a quote says it was really two family businesses that just shook hands very quickly. They wanted a good family to take over their great family business. So I felt privileged and fortunate. They chose me, my Siaka family, my three sons to be the stewards of that business, which is a high performing dealer group.

Kyle Mountsier  07:14

When he when he said, stewards of that business, it gets how he lives a field. In the field,

Paul Daly  07:20

we're talking about a dealer we were having we were on the phone during initial lockdown. COVID he called every single one of his employees from his personal phone gave them his personal number. How are you doing? Do you need anything? Do you need whatever you need? Whatever you need, if it's rent money, if it's food, if we have you hit let us know, we'll take care of it. He means that when he says it, you know and so this it's cool because they're expanding their their, you know, portfolio, they've added Porsche infinity, Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram to the portfolio, that's their first store is there and they have all kinds of plans. If you click on the link in the article, you can go read it all kinds of plans to build new buildings and separate this and just make it great. And currently they right at 383 on the Automotive News top 150 That's probably going to be higher by the end of this year. By the time the next list comes up. Epic aspiration.

Kyle Mountsier  08:11

And you're right. Yep. Look, you

Paul Daly  08:12

have to come meet him. You have to come up, Greg.

Kyle Mountsier  08:15

I got to meet him early this summer, and just a warm handshake, a smile, he'll call you by name multiple times, and he is just the people's person. And not just that, but when you start to meet his people across the dealership, and you get that they all have that same thing. Sure do. And the number of homegrown managers and leaders within the company is staggering. So if you're looking to like, okay, maybe this isn't the most innovative from a retail process, right? You know, there's people that are doing things like Brian benstock or Kramer before he left the stores that are just like, nobody does that. But on this side, from people side, it's like wow, people do it that way. So this is this is a way to kind of watch that and to hear him say, you know, a handshake deal to keep a family business running a family business, a steward of a business, those types of themes within within that within that group are just encouraging to me and I know we see that across the across the country, but it's just one that we have, you know, a bird's eye view too.

Paul Daly  09:21

So for sure. So if look if you weren't coming to a soda con after that, get to a soda con just so you can hang out in his superstore and meet Mr. C as we love to call them in person. Speaking of family businesses, segue I mean family business, businesses that are oriented toward families, Disney is not quite the family business anymore. But Disney's earnings and streaming prices are both up that's great earnings are up and as well as their theme park traffic and streaming subscribers. So the revenue is higher than expected 26% in their earnings call. Yes. Today, which caused the stock price to jump 7% In off hours trading. And here's the here's this is super cool. When combining Disney plus, and Hulu and ESPN plus all their holdings, put that graphic backup, Isaac put that graphic back up all they just said to Netflix, sit down, sit down, they are now more subscribers in Netflix. It's pretty impressive. And I, I'm still intrigued as to what they're really going to do with Disney plus, just because it, you know,

Kyle Mountsier  10:30

I hope that they keep it very family oriented, I know that there's been some conversation that there's gonna be some new entrants into the space in there. And I'm glad that they have Hulu to kind of keep some separation between, you know, the family side of the thing, and then the rest of the rest of media. But just with the way that ESPN plus is going, and the the acquisition of streaming rights, they are definitely a force to be reckoned with. But it's really interesting to me, because it's like, we quit cable to get this, but it's really like mini cable

Paul Daly  11:06

cable. Gonna be cable again, but at least you feel like you have some control over. That's so true. Man, that is so true. You know, one of the cool things that Disney plus has going for it is that if you have kids, you understand how many times and I don't care if they're two years old or 15 years old. You don't understand how many times they can actually watch the same thing. This

Kyle Mountsier  11:29

look, you have not spoken any? I'm like, you've watched this episode of bluey 33 times are you? Are we serious right now. This is kind

Paul Daly  11:39

of day today. Oh, my kids are all over that no everywhere to incognito and frozen and WreckIt Ralph and now that we have little Jaden, right going through it all again, all of it again and my kids is like zombies and the things and the people and beings and over and over and over again. So um, but I thought it was cool to see that the theme park traffic was also up, they aren't able to staff to capacity still they have hiring challenges just like everyone else. However, this is I think a very keen lesson for retailers and auto dealers, especially profit margins are higher than ever as they figured out a way to rise spend per guest at the store. And they also implemented lightning what's it called Lightning Lightning lane and Jamie plus, which are two apps that people can really plan out their day and move through the park more efficiently. So revenue is up. And customer experience might be up too because reservations and like so. I mean, how can we not learn from that? Well, I

Kyle Mountsier  12:37

I love the fact that when you plan a Disney trip, they just they think about it. You know if you've ever like done any Disney University things, they think about the experience from when people get off the plane or get like close to Orlando, they're thinking about what might people do as they get there. And then to take that into the parking go, oh, you can plan your visit and you can know and come to expect what's going to go on. That's something that any business can take understanding like, okay, when people go into any business, I don't care if it's an Apple store, a dealership, a Walmart, there's a level of anxiety that happens and the more we the more we can do to reduce that level of anxiety. Actually, the reason why your Kroger's and your Walmart's and all that are organized the same way no matter where you go in the country. And basically the only opportunity the only option is they flip the store on its head because of where the entrances are, is because it breeds comfortability in your shopping behaviors. Yeah. And so thinking about that as as a retail is how can I breed comfortability in shopping behaviors? Similar to how like a theme park might say, hey, look, we recognize that coming here is a big audacious task, we're going to free you up to make sure not have to worry about it by pre planning your visit, helping you move through the park more seamlessly. That it's just like a lesson in customer experience. Absolutely.

Paul Daly  13:58

Absolutely. It is. You know, back to streaming for a second. You know, you're like What is Disney plus going to do? So one thing they're doing is adding an ad supported tier. And I thought this was hilarious. Oh, yeah. And especially if you're gonna be able to hit that button two or three times let's talk about this. So Disney plus is right now 799 So I was thinking we're adding it ad supported tier so what we're going to do is offer like a 499 get a lot more subscribers than one in the market. Three bucks less might incentivize. No, they're like, We have great news. We're introducing that support tier so the subscribers are like oh great, new people can get in they can. But no, so if you're a regular Disney plus subscriber your 799 that you're paying now is gonna go to 1099 and the ad supported tier is now going to be 799. We're also also there they are going to they are going to a bundle Disney plus Hulu and ESPN together and that'll be 999 a month and so it's crazy to just see they no no,

Kyle Mountsier  14:54

not ESPN, just Disney plus and Hulu

Paul Daly  15:00

for ESPN is going to 1099 a month or

Kyle Mountsier  15:03

1899 together. So that's going to be a raised price as well. Of course, here's the thing, in comparison to GMs announcement. People want in like people actually, as compared to $45 a month, I don't think people are going to be that mad in making that change to continue to stay without ads. And honestly, like the level of inflation over the past three years proving out and a $3 ad supported to your bump.

Paul Daly  15:36

Yeah, no, nobody, everyone's CEO, Bob J. Peck said, actually, that he sees that they have a lot of room into price in the price to value segment. And I agree, because Andrew, you have kids, and you know how much they depend on that Disney plus for your sanity. But He also hinted at an announcement with a partnership with a sports book. So think about this. Now, it seems really weird to say that Disney and sports betting Disney and sports betting however you do have to be legalized sports. But however, they said their sports fans, under the age of 30 are super excited and into a level of utility between your programming and be able to seamlessly play sports bets and have some fun that way. So man, look,

Kyle Mountsier  16:19

if your betting thing came up on your ESPN plus, and you could use your Apple TV remote, so easy to select something or, or voice select, like anyone that's into low level betting is that

Paul Daly  16:30

that's dangerous. That's like the one click shopping. Unbelievable. So either way, we when you boil it all down, look, consumers are still spending on entertainment. There definitely there's new ad inventory coming soon, because this is going to release an ad supported tier, which I think provides some more opportunity for automotive advertisers and marketing. And also look, being willing to change your model to fit your consumer is how the best companies operate. You can do that as a dealership today.

Kyle Mountsier  16:59

ad supported tier, thinking about talking to your the companies that manage your OTT and being an early adopter of this network is is the cheapest way to get in because they're going to need advertisers. And so the CPMs are the CPMs and the and the impressions per million are going to be very, very low. So get in while the getting's good.

Paul Daly  17:20

Yeah. And, man, I want to make content specifically, I know it's going to be aired on Disney plus, I want you every creative automotive marketers like Yes. Speaking of let's do this segue, three segues, three segments in one

Kyle Mountsier  17:39

show impressive.

Paul Daly  17:41

So we haven't talked about crypto in a while. And a big thing kind of happened yesterday. So the crypto currency Aetherium. So there's Bitcoin and Aetherium are the top two, they execute a successful test of what they called the merge, what they're doing is upgrading the entire network and gonna get a little nerdy for a second. They're currently on the proof of work protocol, which is a very long, complex way to verify Aetherium transactions, they're moving to something called Proof of stake, much less complicated. We'll talk about it in another time. But once the transition is complete, it's going to get faster, cheaper, get this use 99.95%, less energy. That's a ridiculous number. But it really I checked it twice. I checked it twice. Look,

Kyle Mountsier  18:24

companies are getting 99.95 more efficient than they currently are. Now, this is a thing that is happening in the world. It's unbelievable. If a new entrant into blockchain technology over the last five years can accomplish something like this. What can any other business do to go find efficiencies in their data storage and their processes? And they're like, you can do it. It's proven right there.

Paul Daly  18:53

Takes a lot of work takes a lot of efforts. Unlike Bitcoin, a bitcoin is just like an asset. It doesn't actually do anything, people hold it, and they trade it. And it's based on the next person being willing to pay you more for it, right? It's just a measure of trade. Aetherium, however, is a utility, which is the basis for what's called a smart contract. So you can you can I own things, it's locked up on Aetherium. You can make things happen in a contract, you can send royalty payments, and this Aetherium that level of the blockchain is where eventually we'll have vehicle titles and driver's licenses, and your social media profiles will be owned by you. So this is a big move. This was the last and final test merge before the actual merge happens sometime next month. The price of Aetherium reached $1,900. Overnight, which is up from its recent low of $879, which is way down from its November high of last year $4,800. So, I'm telling you, that little volatility still in the merge goes

Kyle Mountsier  19:48

live, it's going to pop because the efficiency, the even, like, even the it'll be an energy efficiency that they gained from that it's

Paul Daly  20:00

Yeah, that's not investment advice. By the way. It's not

Kyle Mountsier  20:03

definitely not investment advice, but I'm guessing about his guess but

Paul Daly  20:07

you know, he's got he's got a hunch. He's got a hunch. Well, we have a hunch you're gonna have an amazing, amazing Thursday. If you haven't gotten your soda con tickets in your dealer, go to a show to conduct calm come meet Greg's yoga, come hang out with us. Come figure out all the ways to make our industry 99.95% more efficient.