Business Wars


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Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet, or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live. Business Wars gives you ...Show More

27:24 | Feb 6th, 2018

This is Episode 1 of an 8-part series on the brutal business battle between Netflix and Blockbuster, and later HBO. It all started around 1997, with a guy named Marc Randolph and his mathematician friend Reed Hastings. Randolph and Hastings knew the...Show More

27:01 | Jun 19th

In the 1930s and ’40s the market for electric guitars is growing, but it’s hindered by the instruments’ flawed designs. But a small group of mavericks is rethinking the guitar for the electronic age. One of them, guitarist Les Paul, tries unsuccessf...Show More
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22:03 | May 22nd

It’s spring 2019, and the Mouse House is determined to challenge Netflix for streaming supremacy. Disney CEO Bob Iger draws gasps at an industry event when he announces the new Disney Plus streaming service will cost just seven bucks a month. Then th...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

25:02 | Mar 4th

In the 70 and 80s, the founders of Death Row and Bad Boy are just coming of age. In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton, a young Dre is spinning records before he even learns to read. Dre desperately wants to be a hip-hop DJ, but Los Angeles bare...Show More

23:43 | Feb 6th

Description: The NFL has faced rival leagues in the past, and routinely squashed them without breaking so much as a sweat. The NFL’s powerful commissioner, Pete Rozelle, assumes the USFL will be no different. He sees the rival league as a joke. A bli...Show More

26:58 | Feb 4th

For years, David Dixon has been trying to convince the National Football League to launch an expansion team in New Orleans, but he always comes up empty-handed. Finally, after one too many letdowns, Dixon realizes his only hope for a hometown team is...Show More

25:08 | Jan 28th

Egg McMuffins, Croissan’wiches and coffee. Today’s fast food fight is all about breakfast time. Wall Street Journal reporter Julie Jargon joins to talk about where Burger King and McDonald’s are headed, the rise of eating at home, and how fast-casual...Show More

22:03 | Dec 9th

It’s nearing the turn of the 19th century, and the Straus Brothers now run Macy’s emporium out of a dozen cobbled together stores in lower Manhattan. The next generation of Straus’s pressure the old guard to build a huge new Macy’s flagship on 34th s...Show More

24:00 | Dec 4th

As R.H. Macy’s Manhattan emporium and reputation grow during the Civil War, his teenage son rebels and runs away to join the Union army. When the boy goes AWOL, the future of Macy’s burgeoning department store faces jeopardy. But salvation arrives in...Show More

22:42 | Dec 2nd

It's the mid 1800s and two very different young men set out in the world to make their fortunes. A young boy from Nantucket spends four years at sea on a whaling ship, the other becomes an itinerant peddler in the wilds of Indiana. These two adventur...Show More

22:17 | Nov 27th

In the midst of their heated negotiations over the price of raisins, the CEO of Sun-Maid and the head of the Raisin Bargaining Association face off, each making their pitch about the state of the raisin industry and the road forward. It’s the first t...Show More

23:46 | Nov 25th

Facing a shrinking raisin market, Sun-Maid hires a new CEO with a mandate to make raisins popular with Millennials. He believes part of the reason consumers are spurning raisins is the price and is set on Sun-Maid paying less money to farmers. This p...Show More

26:14 | Nov 20th

The humble raisin: it’s hard to imagine that dried grapes are at the center of one of the longest running business wars in the United States. But with almost all of the country’s raisins coming from a small area in California’s Central Valley, it is ...Show More

30:34 | Nov 18th

Growing the cocoa needed to produce chocolate on the scale a company like Mars or Hershey needs is an immense undertaking. One serious consequence chocolate producers are now facing is deforestation in countries that grow the cocoa for the world's ch...Show More

27:10 | Nov 13th

It’s a new century and Hershey’s facing unexpected trouble at home — a showdown between the company and its biggest shareholder that threatens its independence.  Meanwhile, Mars is on a mission to become the world’s candy king. And with Hershey yet ...Show More

10:35 | Nov 11th

Are you curious to know why China is starting to import rice from the US? Or why the thermostat in the office affects productivity of men and women differently? On NPR's daily economics podcast The Indicator from Planet Money, hosts Stacey Vanek Smit...Show More

25:35 | Nov 11th

It’s the late 1970s and Mars is America’s top confectioner. But Hershey is hungry for a comeback. It’s plotting a return to the top powered by a rush of new candies it hopes can nibble away at Mars’ market share. Not that Mars has any intention of s...Show More

27:49 | Nov 6th

It’s 1965 and Forrest Mars has just become the manufacturer of Snickers and M&M’s. He is now – at last – ready to duke it out with Hershey in a battle to become the number one candy maker in America. And he knows Hershey is far from prepared for his...Show More

26:57 | Nov 4th

It’s the 1940s and Forrest Mars’ plan to create a candy empire is stepping up a gear. He’s plotting to seize control of his dad’s company Mars and turn it into a Hershey killer. First he needs to get his new candy venture off the ground. But to do t...Show More

26:25 | Oct 30th

It’s 1923 and the Hershey Chocolate Company dominates the candy bar business. With its milk chocolate Hershey bar and bite-sized Kisses, Hershey seems impossible to beat.  But in a Chicago police station, an awkward father-son reunion is about to si...Show More

28:10 | Oct 28th

It’s 1886 and in New York City, a young confectioner called Milton Hershey is desperately trying to save his business. He’s been struggling for years. He founded his first candy business in Philadelphia, only to watch it collapse. His second venture...Show More

05:49 | Oct 24th

In Wondery's new series Bad Batch, host Laura Beil (Dr. Death) investigates the multi-billion dollar underregulated industry of stem cell therapy where greed and desperation collide. When a group of patients wind up in a Texas hospital in critical co...Show More

31:39 | Oct 23rd

The social media world moves fast, and the next big thing is already upon us. It’s called TikTok. A video-based app where users create short clips to share with the world, TikTok is growing at a rapid rate. The app has already been downloaded a billi...Show More

27:08 | Oct 21st

It’s June 2018. Mark Zuckerberg is struggling and morale at the social media giant is low. Facebook has been battered by data breaches and there’s no end in sight.  Meanwhile, Evan Spiegel has a chance to turn Snapchat around by refocusing on the tee...Show More

24:30 | Oct 16th

It’s April 2017, and Mark Zuckerberg is issuing a new challenge to Snapchat. By making its face filters open source, the tech giant is coming directly for Snapchat's most popular feature. But founder Evan Spiegel has other things to worry about: Snap...Show More

08:20 | Oct 15th

Ideas are coming at you every day from all directions. How can you process it all? You can start with The Next Big Idea. Host Rufus Griscom and legendary thought leaders Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Dan Pink, and Susan Cain, will be your personal “i...Show More

24:20 | Oct 14th

It's September 2015 and Snapchat has just hit on a game-changer for the young company: filters that augment users' faces. Thanks to some celebrity love, the new feature becomes wildly popular. But Mark Zuckerberg is watching closely, and acquires a c...Show More

29:28 | Oct 9th

It’s November 2013, and Mark Zuckerberg is about to make Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy an offer he thinks they can't refuse. But when Spiegel and Murphy do the unimaginable, it prompts Facebook to compete — by copying. Snapchat is gathering steam, b...Show More

28:59 | Oct 7th

It's the new millennium and Mark Zuckerberg is bored in high school. He's a prodigious student so smart he's already taking graduate level coding classes at Mercy College. Soon, he's going to build a product that will change the Internet forever. Now...Show More