/ Weekly Takeaways

Journalism is officially dying, Data's no longer like oil, it's sunshine and Welcome to the new TV wars

1,000 journalists were laid off this week, and it's just the beginning

Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and several other news outlets have laid off employees this week - most of whom were considered to be critical to each outlet's storytelling. Entire opinion teams have been purged, and other bench strength that a decade ago would have been considered the core of the news business. https://www.thecut.com/2019/01/1-000-people-cut-in-huffpost-gannett-buzzfeed-layoffs.html

Pundits are beginning to look at the new numbers as a sign that the industry is officially unable to sustain itself with exceptions such as The Atlantic and The New York Times.

This particular article does a great job of making recommendations around the digital supply of information (Internet Service Providers) charging people for news, and using that money to fund the industry: https://www.cjr.org/business_of_news/buzzfeed-verizon-layoffs.php

Key Takeaway

I would say we need to be more vigilante than ever in our digestion of information - particularly in a world where journalists are hard to come by - but in 2019, that's a pretty outdated notion. The truth is, we now read what we want to read and are not open to unbiased journalism. All we can do as readers is seek out both sides to any story - or try to remember that both sides exist in the first place.

Google's CFO says that data is less like oil, and more like sunshine at the World Economic Forum

For the past decade, we've been talking about how data is the new oil, and that we need to start trading it and valuing it like a commodity. This week however, Google's CFO explained that data's more like sunshine in that it's everywhere and self perpetuating. Data isn't limited to people's information on Facebook. It's generated constantly by everything we do on this planet - and not all of it is owned individuals. A lot of it is mined without any personally identifiable information attached. https://www.businessinsider.com/google-data-is-more-like-sunlight-than-oil-france-gdpr-fine-57-million-2019-1

All of this of course being a key message as a response to their recent fine of $57MM for breaching GDPR rules.

Key Takeaway

Despite abuses of data that may or may not have taken place - this is a far better analog to the realities of data. Harvesting solar power doesn't require a plot of land, the same way that harvesting social media data doesn't require payment to any owner of said data.

Those who know how to harvest the data are doing quite well for themselves, and not all of them are doing it through nefarious means. Just look at companies like Sysomos or Cision who provide a high value service to their customers by scraping public data, and streaming it in a highly usable way.

On that note - it's also worthwhile to read Microsoft's CTO's take on the importance of understanding AI: https://venturebeat.com/2019/01/20/microsoft-cto-understanding-ai-is-part-of-being-an-informed-citizen-in-the-21st-century/

Hulu goes after Netflix users with cheaper subscription rates

Last week, Netflix increased its subscription fee, resulting in 8% of its user base lapsing in monthly renewals (obviously early numbers). In response - Hulu has lowered it's monthly price to $5.99 for its basic offering: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/23/18193539/hulu-price-change-subscription-ads-live-tv-2019

Key Takeaway

This is just the beginning of pricing and content wars between Netflix, Hulu, HBO and soon - Disney and Warner. It's not all that different from the cable wars we saw in the 80s and 90s, except that content is going to be the driving force, in addition to cost.

Journalism is officially dying, Data's no longer like oil, it's sunshine and Welcome to the new TV wars
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