Blog draft

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The battle for the consumer’s wallet

This is the year that cord-cutting and cord-shaving have shifted into high gear as reliable alternatives to a full cable or satellite bill for many television viewers.

Years ago, before Over-the-Top (OTT) services were available, the cable companies argued that, if they allowed a la carte selection for channels, the customer would suffer, because at the end of the process they would spend the same amount of money monthly, but receive far fewer channels. These questions of how much money we spend, how much may be freed up if we unbundle, and where that money may go are of intense interest to us at the Center.  (more)

What really happened to this summer’s box office

This summer, Hollywood reported the worst box office in 25 years. At the film studios, panic began to set in. Studio executives wondered if this was the beginning of the end for large audiences going out to the movies.

What was the cause of the 2017 movie meltdown? Was it Netflix, HBO, Hulu and Amazon, or was it bad movies in the theaters, or both? With so much great content on television, would audiences still make the effort to go to the movies and pay as much as $16 a film?  (more)

“Incremental” is not what Apple fans were waiting for

(Update to “Apple’s future hangs in the balance” from August 17)

September 13 — In one of the most anticipated products launches ever, Apple has introduced its new lineup of iPhones.

In my earlier column, I made the case that what Apple fans really wanted to see was Tim Cook in a pair of jeans coming to the end of his presentation and, almost as if he forgot, saying, “Oh, and one more thing.” Then Cook would introduce the phone that would change their lives.

Cook got everything right — except the game changer. . . (more)

“Implantables” and the war between
convenience and privacy

August 31 — It sounds like a particularly chilling episode of Netflix’s future-phobic series, Black Mirror: as of August 1, employees at Three Square Market, a technology company in River Falls, Wisconsin, can choose to have a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice implanted in their fingers.  On the first day, 50 of the company’s 80 employees had the implant.

Technologically, chipping is a utopia. Privacy-wise, it is either the beginning of a secure, frictionless world or the beginning of a nightmare. . .(more)

Apple’s future hangs in the balance

August 17 — You would have to dive deep into business books to find a CEO at any company at any time in history who has faced a bigger challenge than Tim Cook at Apple faces right now.

Last fall, Cook announced the introduction of the iPhone 7. Fans learned that it would have a slightly better camera and a slightly improved processor, and they were profoundly disappointed. In fact, the iPhone 7 was an impressive incremental improvement, but that’s all it was. . . (more)

How driverless cars change everything

August 3 — I have been talking about driverless cars for about ten years and ridiculed for most of that time. I was just getting used to seeing audiences’ eyes roll and glaze over as they thought I was pitching a Twilight Zone episode.

Then something interesting happened: people began to believe it wasn’t just a view of the future as experienced by The Jetsons. Driverless cars are here, and even the biggest skeptics can now see that something of compelling importance is about to happen. . . (more)

Amazon, sports, and the future of
the broadcast networks

July 13 — For years, analysts have been predicting the demise of the broadcast networks.

Even before Rupert Murdoch and Barry Diller created the Fox Network in the 1980s, observers argued the economy was not strong enough for three networks — let alone a new fourth.

The networks have turned out to be more durable than most people thought. . . (more)

See all columns from the Center.

To learn how the Center provides global companies and NGOs with perspective and guidance to keep ahead of the trends, contact the Center at [email protected], or (310) 235-4444.