Now that AT&T has acquired Time Warner, what should its biggest rival do?

With AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner complete and Disney struggling with Comcast over Fox, how should Verizon’s new CEO approach today’s turbulent media landscape? Center director Jeffrey Cole explains.

As expected, this week the courts overruled the Justice Department and allowed AT&T to acquire Time Warner.  Two days after the ruling, the sale was complete, and we have heard the last of the Time Warner name. Any significance to the Time name ended several years ago when Time Warner spun off the magazine division. With this new change, the Warner label will disappear from the corporate name, and only identify the entertainment division.

If the courts had rejected the $85 billion acquisition, it likely would have endangered Disney’s (and now Comcast’s) pursuit of Fox’s assets, and it might have stalled or prevented many additional deals down the road.

Now the floodgates are open.  A new round of musical chairs in the media, entertainment, and technology business is about to begin with a vengeance.

I want to focus on a giant company that has been flying below the radar and has only made relatively small acquisitions. It’s a company that is as big and significant as all the studios and the telcos, and has yet to develop, or at least announce, a media strategy. That company is Verizon.  (more)

Web Insight: does digital technology in banking create more risks to privacy?

In the Center’s study on the future of money and banking, we explore the impact of digital technologies on banking. One concern voiced by respondents to our study is that these technologies will put their privacy at risk.

In our study, 61% of all respondents agreed somewhat or strongly with the statement that with the impact of digital technologies on banking “My privacy will be at much higher risk than today.”

How do age, race, education, and income affect these views? (more)

See all of the Center’s Web Insights here.

Will Oculus Go kill the TV set?

A $199 VR headset aims to change the face of entertainment, but its greatest impact may be indirect. Chief Strategy Officer Brad Berens explains.

Smart glasses, heads-up display, augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality: no matter what you call them, computer screens that you wear on your face are poised to change how we interact with information, the media we consume, and how much reality we share with people around us.

Many of the smart-glasses-driven changes are off in the distance, but as I wrote in my last column, it’s important to pay attention to the future that’s already here. You can see that future today at Best Buy or with a few clicks at Amazon: it’s the $199 Oculus Go virtual reality headset created by Facebook. (more)

At a glance: who borrows from a bank?

From the Center’s Future of Transportation Study
Infographic by Safia Kartoum
See all of the Center’s infographics here.

Web Insight: can you resist using your smartphone while driving?

Scientists tell us that our smartphones can be addictive. The websites and other features available on smartphones are designed to get you to return to them and spend as much time on them as possible. Smartphone addiction can be dangerous if people give in to the urge to use their phones while driving.

In our transportation study, we asked people if they have the urge to check their smartphone every few minutes while driving. Overall, 20% of respondents said that they did.

Do these views vary based on demographics?  (more)

See all of the Center’s Web Insights here.

Why did Amazon build a studio rather than buy one?

Center director Jeffrey Cole explores how the entertainment industry will change as new players from Silicon Valley and elsewhere enter the business.

“How do you become a millionaire in Hollywood?” asks one of the great fables of the entertainment industry. The answer is simple: “You start out as a billionaire.”

For generations, real estate magnates, oil tycoons, and other exceedingly rich people have been attracted to the excitement of Hollywood and have invested to become studio owners. Even some of the world’s biggest companies — whether they sell soft drinks, electronics, alcohol, or something else — have succumbed to the poor business sense and high glamour of entertainment. Most get out fairly quickly with their balance sheets and pride somewhat wounded.

Amazon could have bought just about any of the Hollywood studios. The most valuable of the six is less than 25 percent the size of Amazon.

Why did Amazon decide to build its own studio rather than sweep in and buy an established brand? (more)

At a glance: would Americans consider giving up driving?

From the Center’s Report on the Future of Transportation
Infographic by Jaclyn Patterson
Go here for all Center infographics

The future that's already here

Chief strategy officer Brad Berens explains that there are two futures. You don’t have to wait for AI, self-driving cars, and smart glasses to see how much is going to change.

The digital revolution is just getting started: more changes to more facets of our everyday lives are coming. In the same way that it would be challenging for us to explain life in 2018 to somebody in 1968 (what — no phone booths?), my kids’ kids will look back on our lives today as if we were medieval.

Big changes are coming, and it’s easy to let the coming, huge, things-will-never-be-the-same-again developments distract us from new technologies and services that have already shown up to change life as we know it.

But there are two futures. . .(more)

The great deal of digital media

Beyond removing clutter, the digital revolution also saves us a ton of money and increases access. Center director Jeffrey Cole explains how this works.

In my last column, I looked at how the Internet has unexpectedly become the best “de-clutterer” we have ever seen. Today, the content that we used to collect and store with photographs, self-made videos, books, CDs, and DVDs has all moved to digital where it takes up absolutely no space in our lives. We also have access to far more content than we ever thought possible, and it is easily transportable.

In this column, I want to look beyond the space we save by looking at the money we free up by not maintaining physical media. The total saved is quite impressive.  (more)

Why hasn't mobile payment taken off in the United States?

By Jian Wang
Vice editor-in-chief of the New Media Division of China National Radio
and visiting scholar at the Center

On February 20, Google announced the launch of its new mobile payment app — Google Pay. There have been other efforts, such as Paypal’s Venmo, Square’s Cash app, Amazon Pay, and Walmart Pay. None have changed payment habits in the United States.

What are the reasons for the lukewarm performance of mobile payment in the United States? With a huge population of affluent consumers and probably the best telecommunication and financial infrastructures in the world, shouldn’t the United States be in the leading position?  (more)

Center releases report on the future of money and banking

Nearly 60 percent of American banking customers would consider moving their money to accounts offered by familiar companies, such as online retailers, search engines, or big-box stores, even though they have no experience with financial services, according to a new study on the future of money and banking by the Center.

“We strongly believe banking is the next industry to be completely disrupted by digital change,” said Jeffrey Cole, director of the center. “Our research shows customers are far ahead of the banks in looking to the web and apps as their preferred banking methods.

Download the Future of Money and Banking Report here.

Center report explores the future of transportation

The Center has unveiled a first-of-its-kind study on the future of transportation — a project that explores the spectrum of American behavior and views about their cars, public transit, reasons to give up driving, new competitors in the automobile industry, distracted driving, and the arrival of self-driving cars.

“Most research covers the transportation revolution from an industry perspective, but our new study focuses on the actual behavior and attitudes of the U.S. population,” said Brad Berens, chief strategy officer for the center and project lead for the study.

The 42-page Future of Transportation Study explores more than 100 issues involving behavior and views about cars, their alternatives, and emerging needs for technology.

Download the Future of Transportation Report here.

Center for the Digital Future releases 15th annual report on the impact of digital technology in the U.S.

The 152-page “Surveying the Digital Future” includes findings on more than 160 issues, among them: the importance of the internet in political campaigns, government regulation and the internet, online buying and effects on retail shopping, personal freedom online, privacy and personal security, and negative attention (bullying and sexual harassment).

More about the report here.

Download the report here.

Center director Jeffrey Cole discusses media trends

Center director Jeffrey Cole explores transformation of the media for the keynote address at the 2018 annual leadership meeting of the Interactive Advertising  Bureau.

View the video.