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Material World

Bloomberg News

There's a whole lot of stuff out there to buy. We're talking about all the things you eat, drink, wear and even smoke. Every other week we're going to take a look at one part of the universe of consumable stuff. We'll delve into why we spend our money on these things, the people behind the products -- and why it matters.


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There's a whole lot of stuff out there to buy. We're talking about all the things you eat, drink, wear and even smoke. Every other week we're going to take a look at one part of the universe of consumable stuff. We'll delve into why we spend our money on these things, the people behind the products -- and why it matters.






Introducing: Blood River, A New Podcast From Bloomberg

The killers of Berta Caceres had every reason to believe they’d get away with murder. More than 100 other environmental activists in Honduras had been killed in the previous five years, yet almost no one had been punished for the crimes. Bloomberg’s Blood River follows a four-year quest to find her killers – a twisting trail that leads into the country’s circles of power. Blood River premieres on July 27. See for privacy information.


Introducing Foundering

Adam Neumann had a vision: to make his startup WeWork a wildly successful company that would change the world. He convinced thousands of other people -- customers, employees, investors -- that he could make that dream a reality. And for a while, he did. He was one of the most successful startup founders in the world. But then, in the span of just a few months, everything changed. Foundering is a new serialized podcast from the journalists at Bloomberg Technology. This season, we’ll tell you the story of WeWork, a company that captured the startup boom of the 2010s and also may be remembered as a spectacular bust that marked the end of an era. Foundering premieres June 25, 2020. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. See for privacy information.


Introducing Prognosis Season 4: America's Broken Health-Care Costs

Americans are paying more and getting less for their health care than ever before. On the new season of Prognosis, reporter John Tozzi explores what went wrong. See for privacy information.


Introducing "What Goes Up," A New Show From Bloomberg

On this new show from Bloomberg, hosts Mike Regan and Sarah Ponczek speak with expert guests each week about the main themes influencing global markets. They explore everything from stocks to bonds to currencies and commodities, and how each asset class affects trading in the others. Whether you’re a financial professional or just a curious retirement saver, What Goes Up keeps you apprised of the latest buzz on Wall Street and what the wildest movements in markets will mean for your investments. See for privacy information.


Introducing "Works For Me," A New Podcast From Bloomberg

On this new show from Bloomberg, hosts Francesca Levy and Rebecca Greenfield navigate the productivity industry by way of their own experiences. In each episode, one of the two becomes a human guinea pig as she tries to solve a specific work-related problem. Using the advice of so-called productivity experts, the duo tackles obstacles like ineffective to-do lists, overflowing inboxes and unruly meetings. Follow along with their attempts, insights and missteps, and maybe find a solution that will work for you. See for privacy information.


Travel Genius, a New Show From Bloomberg

What’s the most sure-fire way to get a flight upgrade? How can you find the best, secret local restaurants by asking just one question? What's the first thing you should do when you get into a hotel room? On Bloomberg's new podcast Travel Genius, we'll give you those answers—and plenty more—as hosts Nikki Ekstein and Mark Ellwood quiz the world’s most experienced globetrotters for their tried-and-true travel hacks. Listen weekly, and even your work trips will go from a necessary evil to an expert art form. Plus, you'll be padding out your bucket list with dreams of amazing future vacations. See for privacy information.


Prognosis, a New Show From Bloomberg

Where does a medical cure come from? 100 years ago, it wasn't uncommon for scientists to test medicines by taking a dose themselves. As medical technologies get cheaper and more accessible, patients and DIY tinkerers are trying something similar—and mainstream medicine is racing to catch up. Prognosis explores the leading edge of medical advances, and asks who gets—or should get—access to them. We look at how innovation happens, when it fails, and what it means to the people with a disease trying to feel better, live longer, or avoid death. See for privacy information.


BONUS: The Pay Check, Episode 6

So far, the pay gap has proved pretty impossible to solve. But most of us aren’t just going to sit here and accept that we’ll be paid less than men for our entire careers. In the last episode of The Pay Check, host Rebecca Greenfield talks to Gaby Dunn, who hosts her own podcast called Bad With Money, about what she's learned from the many people she's sought advice from on her series. Jordyn Holman also travels to Seattle for the Get Money, Get Paid conference, hosted by a group called Ladies Get Paid, and learns some important lessons about negotiation—and collaboration. See for privacy information.


BONUS: The Pay Check, Episode 5

The pay gap goes way deeper than just men's and women's salaries—that's why just paying women more doesn't solve the problem. In this episode, Claire Suddath talks to Inc., the San Francisco software company that began doing pay equity audits in 2015 and has found a pay gap every single year. Host Rebecca Greenfield looks at another software company, Fog Creek Software, Inc., and how radical pay transparency is helping equalize salaries. And Ellen Huet reports on Adobe Systems Inc., which says it's closed its pay gap but is still trying to tackle inequities around parental leave that can hold some women back. See for privacy information.


BONUS: The Pay Check, Episode 4

Can companies be shamed into closing the pay gap? A new law in the U.K. requires companies with more than 250 employees to publicly disclose their gender pay gaps. More than 10,000 companies reported by the April deadline, revealing differences in median pay of as much as 60 percent in some extreme cases. Now it’s up to companies to decide what, if anything, to do about that. This week, Suzi Ring talks to one company that reported a wide gap, and how that’s changing the way it hires and pays women. Then, Claire Suddath tells us about a different pay gap law in Iceland, how that came to be and if it’s working. See for privacy information.


BONUS: The Pay Check, Episode 3

Skeptics say the gender pay gap is explained by choices women make about family and career. Rebecca Greenfield unpacks those arguments with the help of professors from Harvard and Georgetown. Then, Jordyn Holman goes inside a contract negotiation between Netflix and the comedian and actress Mo’Nique that went south. See for privacy information.


BONUS: The Pay Check, Episode 2

There was a brief moment 150 years ago when it looked like women might get equal pay for equal work. But they didn’t—and that set the standard for decades to come. On this episode of the Pay Check, Rebecca Greenfield revisits a Civil War-era sex scandal that set the stage for the pay gap debates we're having right now. She talks to Claire Suddath about how a century of rules and laws saying what women can and can’t do have made it easy for companies to pay women less. One big reason the gender pay gap still exists is because of a phenomenon called "occupational sorting"— the idea that some jobs are dominated by women, and those jobs often pay less. That didn't just happen. Claire and Rebecca sort through how history determined the market value for women. Then Claire talks with Lilly Ledbetter, whose fight for gender equality at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. seemed like an open and shut case—until a loophole in the law denied her justice. Visit us at See for privacy information.


BONUS: Listen to The Pay Check

In the first episode of The Pay Check, we go deep on pay discrimination. Host Rebecca Greenfield tells us about an equal pay fight in her own family. We take you inside a gender discrimination case against Goldman Sachs that’s been unfolding for over a decade. And we look at how companies magically make their pay gaps disappear—without actually paying women more. See for privacy information.


Movie Theaters Want You Back, So They're Rushing to Modernize

For many people, going to movies in the theater is more of a hassle than a joy -- why sit in an uncomfortable chair and spend upwards of $10 to get a ticket, plus the cost of popcorn and a drink? As the number of shows on television and subscription services surges and home theater systems improve, it takes a lot to get customers to leave their homes. Lindsey Rupp and Jenny Kaplan talk with Anousha Sakoui, who covers the cinema and film industry for Bloomberg, about how the movie theaters industry got into this mess and the challenges that face them in regaining media dominance. Some startups, like MoviePass, which allows subscribers to see a movie every day for a month for $9.95 per month, are trying to getting customers to go to more films by offering them “bad-movie insurance,” says Chief Executive Officer Mitch Lowe. Cinemark, the third-largest movie chain, is also offering a subscription service and upgrading its theaters so customers can enjoy nicer seats and even perks like food and alcohol. Will these efforts to modernize be enough to win back consumers? Every other week, hosts Jenny Kaplan and Lindsey Rupp guided you through the consumer universe, breaking down what's going on with all the things people buy. This will be the last episode of Material World. See for privacy information.


Wal-Mart Gets Ready For Virtual Reality Shopping

Retail has been undergoing a rapid, extreme time of change that hasn't happened since online shopping came on the scene 20 years ago. Companies like Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer in the world, are trying to get ahead of the next trends in how people will buy stuff. They're making a big bet on virtual reality and augmented reality, and this week Jenny Kaplan and Lindsey Rupp take you behind the scenes to use Wal-Mart as a case study for how you might buy a tent or even a dress in the future. See for privacy information.


Global Warming Is Coming for Your Shopping Cart

The impact of climate change on the things we buy is already noticeable, but it’s bound to get worse. In future decades, the food we eat, beverages we drink and clothes we wear may all be altered by the warming planet. In the second of two episodes about climate change, Jenny and Lindsey dig into the future impact of global warming on shoppers. They talk with Andrea Illy, Chief Executive Officer of IllyCaffe; Dr. Peter Howard, economics director at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University's School of Law; and Cecilia Strömblad Brännsten, a sustainability business expert at H&M. See for privacy information.


How Climate Change Affects What You Buy

Climate change is already worsening extreme weather events -- from hurricanes to wildfires -- and beginning to affect the U.S. economy and consumers. This episode is the first in a two-part series on climate and commerce. This week, Lindsey and Jenny dive into how changes in the environment are showing up in stores and businesses. Dr. Peter Howard, the economics director at the institute for policy integrity at NYU's school of law, explains how changing global temperatures and climate could have ripple effects on businesses and shoppers. Bloomberg's Jordyn Holman discusses her reporting in Puerto Rico after it was hit by Hurricane Maria and the director of the Florida Department of Citrus describes Hurricane Irma's impact on growers. See for privacy information.


Yogurt Battle Puts Big Food Struggles on Display

Big Food's having a tough time, and yogurt is no exception. Large, bureaucratic food companies have trouble keeping up with consumers looking for fresh ingredients and new products. Newcomers like Chobani are beating out old standbys such as General Mills' Yoplait and DannoneWave's Dannon. This week on Material World, Jenny and guest host Craig Giammona dig into the evolution of yogurt, the changing consumer and the lessons yogurt provides for the rest the grocery store. Correction: A previous version of this episode misstated Gary Hirshberg's last name. See for privacy information.


Is New York Fashion Week Still On Trend?

Last month, fashion lovers got a taste of what's going to be in this spring as designers and models took to runways from New York to London to Paris and Milan. But as customers look for instant gratification and retailers rush to get clothes on shelves faster, is New York Fashion Week as relevant and agenda-setting as it once was? Lindsey Rupp and Alex Barinka talk with Xcel Brands Chief Executive Officer Bob D'Loren, retail consultant Gabriella Santaniello, and Tricia Smith, the head of women's merchandising at Nordstrom. See for privacy information.


The Evolution of Coffee, America's Favorite Drink

The majority of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee every day. The kinds of drinks and the companies producing them have changed dramatically over the past few decades. Consumers increasingly want their caffeine kick to be gourmet and iced. Meanwhile, artisanal coffee companies are being snatched up by big roasters, much as craft brewers have been acquired by bigger counterparts. This week on Material World, Jenny and Lindsey dig into what's happening with the country's favorite stimulant. They talk with the leaders of Illycaffe Spa, La Colombe Coffee Roasters and Blue Bottle Coffee Co. about why gourmet coffee is growing, how cold drinks got so hot and why industry consolidation is expected to continue. See for privacy information.