January 17, 2020

2019 was the year that the so-called “streaming wars” got serious. Disney+ and Apple TV+ launched in an effort to compete against Netflix while established broadcasters like NBC and HBO announced that their streaming services would go live in mid-2020. As the streaming marketplace grew increasingly crowded, industry insiders worried that media companies were offering too much content to consumers. According to research by the cable network FX, these fears could prove to be true: last year a total of Continue reading

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December 17, 2019

During December, the Hallmark Channel’s schedule is chock full of Christmas movies to keep the holiday spirit strong throughout the month. But last week the usually jolly TV network behaved more like Ebenezer Scrooge in the eyes of many fans and users on social media. The controversy began when Hallmark received a complaint from an advocacy group whose stated mission is to “fight against indecency.” The organization complained about four ads that featured same-sex couples from a wedding planning company Continue reading

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November 21, 2019

Analysts estimate that last year consumers spent more than $50 billion on virtual items in video games like Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft. This lengthy but highly informative video explains why the market for virtual items has grown bigger than global box office returns for the movie industry. 

Questions:

  1. How are in-game economies similar to real-world economic systems?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online marketplaces that sell virtual goods?
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November 19, 2019

Thanks to the popularity of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, some lucky musicians can go viral and attract large fan bases very quickly. In the past, artists often had to tour across the country for years playing small clubs before they got noticed by major record labels. That’s not the case these days, though. For instance, the teenage singer-songwriter Billie Eilish released her debut album less than a year ago and has already sold out a stretch of Continue reading

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October 15, 2019

Each year, the toy brand Nerf earns more than $400 million in revenue by selling bright neon “blasters” that shoot rubber-tipped darts. But while the Hasbro-owned company moves plenty of blasters, it has a little more trouble with the darts. Since Nerf’s foam ammo can be easily copied, consumers often opt for cheaper alternatives rather than pay a premium for Nerf-branded darts. “We’ve had the same dart or similar dart for so many years that it’s become uniformed across our Continue reading

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October 11, 2019

This week, Houston Rockets owner Daryl Morey sparked an international controversy when he tweeted his support for the protests in Hong Kong. His words angered both Chinese officials and businesses, leading a number of companies and government organizations to suspend ties with the Rockets. The NBA tried to ease the situation by calling Morey’s comments “regrettable,” which then caused outrage among Americans. This short video explains how the NBA must walk a fine line between appealing to its core Continue reading

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October 8, 2019

When Apple launched the iTunes store in 2003, the music industry was not in a good state. Rampant online piracy sent CD sales plummeting and caused many to wonder whether record companies could compete against the freedom of the Internet. Fortunately for the industry, the iTunes strategy of selling individual songs for just 99 cents made buying digital music mainstream and limited the reach of piracy. The app also drove sales of the iPod, which was Apple’s signature product at Continue reading

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September 20, 2019

This week Netflix announced that it spent $500 million to acquire the streaming rights to Seinfeld, which broadcast its last episode way back in 1998. While it may seem strange to spend so much money on a decades-old show, Netflix is far from the only streaming service to splash cash on a classic sitcom. Along with paying $425 million for Friends, HBO Max also acquired the streaming rights to The Big Bang Theory for $1 billion. Meanwhile, NBC-Universal Continue reading

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August 20, 2019

In 2018 users on the video streaming platform Twitch watched more than 505 billion minutes of live streams, up from 355 billion minutes the previous year. At some point many of those viewers likely tuned into Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a streamer of the video game Fortnite who once boasted more than 14 million followers on Twitch. Along with earning ad revenue and subscription money from streaming, Ninja also made millions from lucrative endorsement deals with companies like Uber Eats and Continue reading

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July 18, 2019

Earlier this year, Netflix raised its monthly rates by 13 to 18 percent across its various subscription plans. According to experts, the streaming video platform increased prices in order to ease investors’ fears that it was taking on too much debt. Unfortunately for Netflix’s stakeholders, however, the company recently announced that this decision contributed to a drop in U.S. subscribers for the first time since its launch 12 years ago.

During the second quarter of 2019, Netflix lost 126,000 customers. Continue reading

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