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Friday, 20 March 2015

TV disruption

Maybe the moment has come when enough pressure is built to blow up the traditional TV industry. Today's FT article nicely summarizes the many initiatives that all aim at securing a strong place in the new TV ecosystem. Interestingly, these initiatives no longer come from startups like Netflix and Hulu only. Instead, the new business-model innovatiors are Dish, Apple, Sony and HBO, in other words, traditional large companies. Another important observation is that consumers may not pay less for TV than before. When these fragmented services' fees are added up the check might be very similar to current typical cable bills ($100-$125). Consumers' choice will look very different though, which is a major improvement in terms of the overall quality of TV experience. What will definitely change is the distribution of revenues across players in the ecosystem. Cable networks - especially the small niche ones - might lose revenues. Cable providers will also lose revenues from cord cutters. Some newcomers - e.g. Apple - might win revenues. Profitability might not follow revenues though. Cable companies might actually become more profitable as their margins on Internet services is higher than the margin on the distribution of content.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

NYC Media Seminar by Justin Rao

Justin Rao, from Microsoft Research presented a great empirical paper on media bias. Using a variety of techniques from machine learning to crowd-sourcing, they find that while media bias exists it is small: news outlets present news and cover topics more or less identically, except for the coverage of political scandals. However, by far the most interesting finding is that "news organizations express their ideological bias not by directly advocating for a preferred political party, but rather by disproportionately criticizing one side". The media seems disappointed by politics no matter which side they are standing. Really nice research!