[VIDEO] How Toys 'R' Us Went Bankrupt2019-11-08 15:30:31
In 2017 Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy under the weight of billions of dollars in debt. Six months later all of the retailer’s stores had closed with their stock liquidated and staff let go without severance. This in-depth video chronicles the rise and fall of this former “category killer,” detailing how the retailer’s bankruptcy changed the toy industry as well as the lives of its former workers.
- How did the bankruptcy of Toys ‘R’ Us affect its workforce of more than 33,000 people?
- Do you think Toys ‘R’ Us will make a comeback as a brand under its new ownership group? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] How American CEOs Got So Rich2019-10-24 14:30:24
This in-depth video explains how stock buybacks work and why they have possibly contributed to rising income inequality over the years. Along with providing a detailed history of this controversial practice, the video also takes a close look at the closing of GM’s factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
- Do you think lawmakers should pass regulations against corporate stock buybacks? Why or why not?
- How did the closing of GM’s Lordstown factory affect the community as a whole?
[VIDEO] How Subscription Services Became So Common2019-05-30 13:57:21
From music and movies to everyday items like clothes and toilet paper, today’s consumers can order all sorts of products through monthly subscription services. But as more companies adopt this sales strategy, it’s possible that consumers could get tired of subscriptions once all the monthly fees start stacking up. This video looks at why these services have become so widespread and offers advice for consumers who feel they’ve taken on too many subscriptions.
- Why are more companies starting to offer subscriptions rather than charging flat fees for their goods and services?
- What is the three-step process that can help you keep track of your monthly subscriptions?
[VIDEO] Face It, You're Being Watched2019-05-24 11:24:24
Whether you realize it or not, companies and organizations across the country are employing facial recognition technology for all sorts of purposes. The video below looks at the various uses for this controversial new tech and why many people are wary about its quick expansion into everyday life.
- What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of using facial recognition technology in everyday life?
- Do you think Microsoft and Amazon should sign the Safe Face Pledge? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] Why Amazon Is Gobbling Up Failed Malls2019-05-09 13:46:23
Although some brick and mortar retailers are managing to thrive in the age of e-commerce, many others haven’t been able to compete against rivals like Amazon. This includes a good portion of America’s once mighty malls that now either struggle to keep tenants or have shuttered completely. In an ironic twist, however, abandoned malls are currently being purchased by Amazon and other companies to serve as product distribution centers. This video details why the location and size of these former malls are often perfect for today’s online retailers.
- How do the large floor plans of former malls benefit e-commerce companies like Amazon?
- What sort of location advantages do former malls offer to online retailers?
[VIDEO] Why Robocalls Are Almost Impossible to Stop2019-04-26 14:11:26
In 2018 Americans received as many as 48 billion unwanted robocalls from telemarketers and scammers. Although legislators have tried to put a stop to these irritating interruptions, completely stamping out unwanted or fraudulent robocalls appears to be a nearly impossible task. This video shows how the power of the Internet as well as regulatory loopholes allow robocallers to operate without much interference.
- Why is it often difficult for regulators to collect penalties issued against robocall companies?
- Why can’t regulators simply place a total ban on all robocalls?
[VIDEO] Why You’re Recycling Wrong2019-04-11 13:56:04
Although Americans have become enthusiastic recyclers in recent years, many people still have trouble telling the difference between what’s recyclable and what isn’t. In fact, approximately 25 percent of the material that U.S. citizens toss in their recycling bins can’t actually be recycled. This video takes a look at the possible causes of this trend and provides viewers with some simple waste-sorting advice: “when in doubt, throw it out.”
- How does single-stream recycling contribute to the high rate of recycling contamination in the U.S.?
- Do you think more communities should require residents to pre-sort their recyclables rather than rely on single-stream systems? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] Meet Granny Sunshine, China’s 71-Year-Old Fashion Model2019-03-29 14:13:57
China’s population is aging on a massive scale. Within 30 years, experts estimate that the country will be home to more than 500 million citizens over 60. As a result, China’s economy and society could face majors changes as it strives to meet the needs of seniors. This video takes a look at the massive purchasing power that the nation’s seniors will soon wield and how businesses are responding to shifting demographics.
- How does Granny Sunshine’s success in fashion serve as an example of the big changes that China will soon face?
- Do you think the Chinese government should reconsider its laws on mandatory retirement ages?
[VIDEO] How the Hindenburg Killed an Entire Industry2019-03-15 14:22:02
With stories about the Boeing 737 Max 8’s potentially fatal flaws dominating the news, some consumers may start to lose trust in the safety of air travel. As this video shows, that’s what happened in the 1930s when the Hindenburg airship plummeted in flames on a journey from Germany to the U.S. Although it wasn’t the first nor the deadliest airship crash, footage of the burning Hindenburg shocked the public and destroyed almost all confidence in the budding airship industry.
- What role did news footage of the Hindenburg disaster play in destroying the public’s confidence in airships?
- Do you think the issues surrounding the Boeing 737 Max 8 will cause many consumers to lose confidence in air travel? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] How Red Bull Got Us Hooked on Energy2019-03-01 15:04:57
Red Bull has grown into one of the world’s most powerful beverage brands thanks in no small part to its innovative approach to marketing. This video takes a close look at the Austrian company’s trailblazing sponsorship of extreme sports events and how the Red Bull brand is about a lot more than just selling energy drinks.
- Why did Red Bull choose to sponsor extreme sports events rather than well-known leagues like the NFL or NBA?
- How did Red Bull’s higher price initially set it apart from the competition? Why is the company now lowering prices?
[VIDEO] How to Name a Product, From the Man Behind Swiffer2019-02-15 15:23:50
There are few things more important to a product than a solid brand name. After all, the title on an item’s label will stick around long after the people who originally created it are gone. That’s why many major companies seek out the services of Lexicon Branding, a marketing firm that comes up with product names. This video looks at the company’s process and how it developed recognizable brand names like Swiffer, Febreeze, and Blackberry.
- Do you think it’s worth the money for companies to pay Lexicon Branding as much as $250,000 for a product name? Why or why not?
- Why is Lexicon Branding’s job more difficult now than it was in the past?
[VIDEO] Brooklyn's Last Seltzer Men2019-02-01 14:56:21
Many years ago, hundreds of delivery men used to criss-cross New York City transporting big bottles of seltzer water directly to customers. As soda and other pre-packaged drinks became popular, however, most of the city’s “seltzer men” began to disappear once demand for their product plummeted. But the old-school seltzer trade isn’t entirely dead in the Big Apple. The video below shows how Brooklyn Seltzer Boys carries on this legacy by combining traditional methods with a new marketing strategy.
- How did Adam Gomberg manage to revitalize his family’s seltzer water business?
- What makes the bottles used by Brooklyn Seltzer Boys so special? What advantages does this give the company over their competitors?
[VIDEO] Why “Buy One, Get One Free” Isn’t a Great Deal2019-01-18 16:00:53
For many shoppers, a “buy one, get one free” deal is often too good to pass up. As this video shows, though, “BOGO” promotions aren’t as special as many consumers perceive them to be.
- How do “buy one, get one free” deals sometimes deceive customers?
- Why do retailers like Amazon show customers a product’s original list price along with the discounted price?
[VIDEO] Where Amazon Reviews Really Come From2019-01-03 15:04:16
At the bottom of every product page on Amazon sits a collection of user reviews that serve as a resource for those who need a second opinion before making a purchase. And while regular customers write many of these reviews, there are also plenty of others who receive free products in exchange for their perspective. The following video shows the positives and negatives behind this system and how Amazon tries to filter out the worst offenders.
- Do you think it is ethical for companies to offer free products to consumers in exchange for Amazon reviews? Why or why not?
- Why are “word-of-mouth” reviews on sites like Amazon so important to companies?
[VIDEO] The Future of Gaming: Your Data, Your Wallet2018-12-07 15:21:30
The video game industry has grown into a global juggernaut. Last year, consumers around the world spent more than $100 billion on games, more than double the amount spent on movies. As this in-depth video shows, however, some video game companies have started to earn all that money by operating like casinos. From examining the business model of “loot boxes” to the ways that video games track customer data, this long but fascinating video provides an excellent assessment of an industry that will only get bigger in the coming years.
- Why do companies like Yokozuna Data closely track how people play video games?
- Do you think the U.S. should follow the lead of other countries and regulate the use of “loot boxes” in video games? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Segway2018-11-16 15:34:56
In 2001, a company called Segway introduced a two-wheeled “personal transporter” that it claimed would revolutionize how people traveled in big cities. 17 years later, though, and the Segway is mainly a vehicle for security guards and tourists. Along with chronicling the ways that the company failed to live up to expectations, this video also looks at how Segway could still leave a big impact on the transportation industry.
- Why did Segway fail to connect with consumers in the early 2000s?
- Do you think motorized scooters will become a popular mode of transportation in the coming years? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] How IKEA Gets You to Impulsively Buy More2018-10-26 14:28:15
We’ve all been there before: you go to the store with a carefully prepared shopping list only to walk out with tons of stuff you had no previous intention to buy. These types of impulse purchases are such a vital source of revenue that some retailers design their store layouts to encourage as much emotion-driven buying as possible. This video looks at how IKEA depends on winding pathways and strategic lighting to do just that.
- How does IKEA’s store layout encourage customers to purchase products impulsively?
- Why are impulse purchases so important to retailers like IKEA?
[VIDEO] Six Big Changes NAFTA's Replacement, the USMCA, Makes2018-10-12 13:47:54
Last week representatives from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement to update NAFTA, the international trade deal that went into effect in 1994. Now known as the USMCA, this video looks at how the new deal could affect various industries throughout North America. Click here to watch it.
- Which industries will be most affected by the USMCA?
- What is the purpose of international trade deals like NAFTA or the USMCA?
Photo by Nicoguaro.
[VIDEO] How Marketers Target Your Nose2018-09-28 14:16:58
Every day, Americans are bombarded with tons of advertisements coming out of their TVs, radios, and all sorts of other sources. While companies design many of these spots to be easily noticed by consumers, this video takes a look at one type of marketing that deliberately remains in the background. Known as “scent marketing,” companies use it to target the attention of a consumer’s nose rather than their eyes and ears.
- How does scent marketing differ from other forms of marketing? What are its advantages and disadvantages?
- What role does scent marketing play at company like Abercrombie & Fitch?
[VIDEO] Why This Gucci Knockoff Is Totally Legal2018-09-13 13:56:22
While songwriters and filmmakers can protect their intellectual property through copyrights, many fashion designers can’t do the same when it comes to their creations. The video below shows why legislators consider clothing to be different from other forms of art and how that affects designers, especially those at the high-end of the market.
- Why have legislators been reluctant to grant clothing designs the same protection as movies or songs?
- Do you think fashion designers should be able to copyright a piece of clothing like a musician would with a song? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] Why Most Orange Juice Comes From Brazil, Not Florida2018-08-31 13:42:14
Although many American advertisements suggest that Florida remains the orange juice capital of the world, the video below shows how that’s not quite the case. Due to the state’s extreme weather and a number of other factors, the South American nation of Brazil has long stood as the globe’s top producer of OJ.
- Why has the size of Florida’s orange crop fallen so much in recent years?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of Brazil’s dominance of the orange industry?
[VIDEO] It's Not You. Date Labels on Food Make No Sense.2018-08-17 14:00:27
If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s safe to eat eggs that have gone past their “sell-by date,” you are certainly not alone. This video looks at the confusing dates that companies place on food packaging and how they encourage consumers to throw out items that are still edible.
- Why do companies place sell-by dates on food packaging?
- What can companies do to make food date labels more straightforward for consumers?
[VIDEO] This Instagram Star Isn't Real, but Brands Don't Seem to Care2018-07-19 14:01:38
As far as Instagram influencers go, Lil Miquela might not seem all that unique at first glance. More than 1 million people follow the teenager’s feed as she regularly shares stories about her life and shows off her stylish wardrobe. Miquela isn’t real, though, and not just in the “nothing is real on Instagram” sense: she is a computer-generated creation made by a Los Angeles startup. While that might seem bizarre at first, CGI influencers like Miquela give us a glimpse into what the future of social media marketing could look like.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a computer-generated avatar like Lil Miquela for social media marketing?
- Do you think computer-generated influencers like Lil Miquela could be the future of social media marketing? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] How Billboard's New Rules Could Change the Song of the Summer2018-07-05 14:03:12
Last year, Billboard crowned the laid back party anthem “Despacito” the Song of the Summer as it racked up millions of streams on sites like Spotify and YouTube. And while there are plenty of contenders in the running for 2018’s title, they might not be able to take the same road to success that the makers of “Despacito” did. This video explains how Billboard is changing their rules about streaming platforms and why these changes could affect a song’s journey to the top of the charts.
- Why is Billboard placing more emphasis on paid streaming platforms like Spotify rather than free services like YouTube?
- Do you think Billboard’s new policy will have a significant impact on the pop charts? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] AT&T, Time Warner and the Entire Media Merger Frenzy Explained2018-06-21 14:14:18
After a lot of legal wrangling, AT&T and Time Warner recently received permission to proceed with a long-awaited corporate merger. But they aren’t the only media companies looking to combine forces: Disney plans to buy Fox, so long as Comcast doesn’t beat them to the punch. This video takes a look at what these mergers mean for the companies themselves as well as consumers.
- Why are major media companies starting to join forces through corporate mergers?
- How do you think these corporate mergers will affect consumers?
[VIDEO] Trade Wars, Explained2018-06-07 13:53:09
Lately the news has been full of headlines about the U.S. potentially imposing tariffs on goods from countries like China. These articles are typically followed by stories saying that other nations could place their own tariffs on American goods, thus potentially setting the stage for a “trade war.” This video explains exactly what happens during a trade war and how they can affect economies around the world.
- What are some reasons why a country would want to impose a tariff on another nation’s goods?
- Who typically gets hurt the most by trade wars?
[VIDEO] GDPR: What Is It and How Might It Affect You?2018-05-24 14:07:16
Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed all sorts of websites sending emails to your inbox about updates to their privacy policies. The timing of these messages is no coincidence: they’re all part of an effort to inform users about the changes that are set to come from a piece of legislation recently passed by the European Union. Named the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this video details how the new law will let people opt-out of data collection by major websites. And while the legislation technically applies only to the European Union, analysts expect that the effects of the bill will be felt worldwide.
- How will GDPR affect companies and consumers outside of Europe?
- Do you think the U.S. government should pass legislation similar to GDPR? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] Starbucks Will Temporarily Close 8,000 U.S. Stores For Racial-Bias Training2018-04-19 14:07:58
Last week, a manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks called the police on two African-American men who were waiting for a friend to arrive. Their subsequent arrest was caught on video and quickly went viral as thousands of social media users directed their outrage towards the coffee chain. Starbucks then took the drastic step of announcing that it would close all stores on May 29th for racial sensitivity training. Along with showing clips of the offending video, this short report also outlines what the company hopes to achieve with this program.
- Should other companies follow the lead of Starbucks and institute their own racial bias training programs? Why or why not?
- Do you think this incident will affect Starbucks’ reputation with customers?
[VIDEO] What Picking Up an Apple Tells You About the Future of Robotics2018-04-06 14:02:49
Industrial robots were once so dangerous that factory employees could not work in the same room as them due to safety concerns. This video shows just how far technology has come since those early years, with today’s soft-handed robots able to pick up delicate items like fruit or plush toys.
- Why have items like apples traditionally been difficult for robots to handle? How does modern “soft-robotics” address this problem?
- Do you think robots could eventually displace much of the workforce? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] Apple, Google and Amazon Seem Unstoppable. Now What?2018-03-23 13:52:10
In the aftermath of Facebook’s data sharing scandal, critics of the company are calling on lawmakers to discuss ways that the social network could be regulated. To these concerned citizens, Facebook has grown too large to be trusted with so much of the public’s information. The video below looks at how America’s tech giants became so big and the ways that regulators could possibly target these companies in the future.
- Do you think big tech companies like Facebook, Apple and Amazon should be broken up by regulators? Why or why not?
- How did America’s tech giants grow to be so large?
[VIDEO] How a Steel Box Changed the World: A Brief History of Shipping2018-03-08 15:08:00
Last year the shipping industry transported more than $4 trillion worth of goods all over the world on huge container vessels. Although these mighty boats are now the backbone of global supply chains, shipping wasn’t always so efficient. This video takes a look at how these metal behemoths revolutionized an ancient industry and the ways they continue to innovate today.
- How did large container vessels revolutionize the shipping industry?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of using large container ships to transport products around the world?
[VIDEO] Smartphones Are Designed to Be Addicting2018-02-23 15:01:30
If you’ve ever thought that you check your smartphone too much, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, the 2.5 billion people around the globe who currently own smartphones likely share the same problem as you. That’s because tech companies design their products to be as attention-grabbing as possible. Along with detailing the ways that smartphones and apps can monopolize your focus, this video also demonstrates a few techniques to limit your phone use.
- Is it ethical for tech companies to design smartphones in such a purposefully addicting way?
- Do you plan to try out any of the video’s suggested techniques for limiting smartphone usage? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] American Shopping Malls Struggle to Survive2018-02-09 14:48:21
Last week, we looked at how property owners are trying to combat the decline of shopping malls by appealing to non-retail tenants like gyms and fitness centers. This video provides more background on this downward spiral, showing footage of American malls thriving in their heyday as well as the decaying, abandoned structures that some have become. But the video isn’t entirely doom and gloom: it also gives a lot of screentime to an Atlanta-area shopping center called Plaza Fiesta that could provide the model for malls of the future.
- Why did shopping malls start to decline? How can mall owners win customers back?
- Do you think shopping centers like Plaza Fiesta could be the future of malls? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] The Meaning of Life According to Google2018-01-26 15:08:25
More than 90 percent of global Internet searches occur on Google, making it one of the world’s most trusted sources for gathering information. Many of the questions fielded by the site can be solved with a single obvious answer, such as “When is Thanksgiving this year?” or “What is the capital of Canada?” Recently, though, the search engine has begun to provide answers for increasingly abstract inquiries concerning religion, politics, and even the meaning of life. This video takes a look at how Google’s efforts to become a one-stop shop for all information can occasionally lead to confusing results.
- How does Google’s “snippet” feature work, and why does it sometimes provide users with unreliable information?
- Do you trust the information you receive from Internet search engines? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] Takeout Creates a Lot of Trash. It Doesn't Have To2018-01-12 14:47:20
There are few things better than having dinner delivered directly to you, especially during these chilly winter days. But even the most basic takeout orders can have a significant environmental impact due to the plastic containers and utensils provided by many restaurants. This video shows the unsustainable packaging methods used by some eateries while also offering suggestions on how they can change their ways for the better.
- How can restaurants benefit by reducing the materials they include in takeout orders?
- Should companies start focusing more on “reusing” materials rather than “recycling” them? How would you get this idea across to a wide audience?
[VIDEO] How the End of Net Neutrality Could Change the Internet2017-12-15 15:03:04
Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal its set of net neutrality rules. These regulations prevented internet service providers from blocking traffic or charging users for certain online services or types of content. With the FCC’s rules struck down, though, the Internet will no longer be regulated by the government like a utility. The video below looks at how this decision could have sweeping repercussions for both businesses and individual users.
- In what ways could the end of net neutrality change the Internet?
- Who benefits from the repeal of the FCC’s net neutrality regulations?
[VIDEO] The Environmental Cost of Free Two-Day Shipping2017-12-01 14:55:53
During the upcoming holiday season, analysts estimate shoppers will spend more than $100 billion online. The majority of these purchases will likely be made on Amazon, which has attracted millions of loyal customers over the years through perks like free two-day shipping. But while undoubtedly convenient, quick shipping is far from environmentally sustainable. This video outlines the problem while also offering a few potential solutions.
- How does Amazon’s free two-day shipping program cause more trucks to end up on roads?
- What potential solutions does the video present that could solve quick shipping’s sustainability problem?
[VIDEO] What Are the Paradise Papers?2017-11-09 14:41:00
This week a group of investigative journalists released an enormous cache of leaked documents called the Paradise Papers. Like last year’s Panama Papers incident, these records detail the offshore financial activities of some of the world’s richest people and companies. But while 2016’s leak focused mainly on the tax avoidance strategies of foreign entities, the Paradise Papers are full of names that will be familiar to Americans. The video below provides a quick overview of this complex story. Tomorrow, we’ll look into greater detail at the methods that Apple used to dodge their tax bill.
- Why is it unethical for wealthy individuals and companies to keep money hidden from the government?
- Besides avoiding taxes, what are some other reasons why people hide their wealth overseas?
[VIDEO] Bitcoin, Blockchains, and the Future of Money2017-11-03 14:07:19
When we took a look at Bitcoin in August, the cryptocurrency had just reached a record value of more than $4,000. Since then it has only continued to grow in worth, topping out $7,200 this week. Many experts now say that Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies could be the future of money, even though most consumers have no clue how they work. This longform video tries to remedy that problem by comparing Bitcoin with the stone ring currency system used by people on the Pacific island of Yap.
- Besides using large stones as currency, what else is unique about the island of Yap’s traditional monetary system?
- Do you think Bitcoin or other blockchain-based currencies will eventually replace established monetary systems? Why or why not?
[VIDEO] Welcome to Mcity, the Fake Town for Cars2017-10-13 13:58:19
This light and breezy video takes you to Mcity, a tiny town that serves as the test track for the University of Michigan’s autonomous vehicle research program. Engineers observe closely as self-driving cars learn how to avoid pedestrians and navigate through obstacles in a realistic setting.
- What is the benefit of testing products like autonomous vehicles in controlled but realistic settings?
- Do you think self-driving cars will become a common sight on the road within a few years?
[VIDEO] What Impact Could a Remade NAFTA Have On You?2017-09-01 14:19:57
Along with being one of the most groundbreaking trade pacts in history, the North American Free Trade Agreement is also considerably controversial. NAFTA has especially faced criticism recently, leading representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to meet and discuss the future of the deal. This video looks at how NAFTA currently impacts supply chains in North America and how changes to the agreement could affect commerce.
- What do American opponents of NAFTA want to change about the deal?
- Should the terms of NAFTA be renegotiated and updated? How can its member nations go about reforming the deal?
[VIDEO] The Death and Life of Helicopter Commuting2017-08-18 14:58:30
Instead of waiting in traffic, what if you could hop in a helicopter and commute to work in a matter of minutes? For a brief period in the 1970s people could do just that on New York Airways, a helicopter shuttle service that ferried folks around the city for as little as $5. Although a tragic accident quickly put an end to the industry, this video shows how advancements in technology could possibly allow helicopter shuttle companies to make a comeback.
- Do you think improved safety measures and quieter aircraft could help helicopter shuttle companies make a comeback?
- Will startups like Blade succeed by adapting Uber’s business model to helicopter travel?
[VIDEO] Stress Test: What Is Bank Capital?2017-08-04 14:11:35
Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, banks have been required to keep a certain amount of cash on hand relative to their assets. Legislators put the rule in place so that institutions would have enough money in their vaults to bail themselves out in the event of another credit crisis. This video explains the concept of bank capital and why these regulations have caused some frustration in the finance industry.
- Why are banks required to keep a certain amount of capital on hand?
- Do capital requirements hurt banks’ ability to do business?
[VIDEO] Blue Ocean Strategy Explained2017-07-21 14:00:09
When starting a new business, many entrepreneurs opt to enter an established industry so they can know what to expect. At the same time, however, these markets are packed with fierce competitors who must vie with one another for their piece of the pie. The most fortunate entrepreneurs avoid cutthroat industries and create new markets based on previously unknown consumer demands. The video below looks at how this “blue ocean strategy” can ensure long-term dominance for innovative companies.
- Can you think of any other company that succeeded with a “blue ocean strategy” like Cirque du Soleil?
- What happens when time passes and a formerly “blue ocean” company finds itself in a “red ocean” with many competitors?
[VIDEO] How the Federal Reserve Works2017-06-23 12:49:19
When the economy was on the verge of collapse due to the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to zero in an effort to get money moving around again. The economy is not in such dire straits now, of course, so the Fed has once again returned to raising rates gradually. This video quickly reviews how the Fed works and demonstrates the ways that the central bank affects the nation’s money supply.
- What are the Federal Reserve’s two main goals?
- How would the Fed act if it wanted to increase the nation’s money supply?
[VIDEO] Why Japan Has So Many Vending Machines2017-06-16 07:00:24
In Japan you can buy almost anything from a vending machine: hot tea, sushi, umbrellas, even bread in a can. This video takes a look at the economic and cultural factors that have contributed to Japan’s vending obsession, such as an excess of coinage and a shortage of unskilled labor.
- How does Japan’s low birth rate contribute to its vending machine culture?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of relying so heavily on vending machines?
[VIDEO] How Robots Are Saving the Dairy Farm2017-05-12 13:38:56
For most non-rural people, the classic image of a dairy farm likely involves a solitary, bucket-toting farmer trudging out to the barn to milk the cows before dawn. As this video shows, though, modern American dairy farms are far more advanced than most city slickers would imagine. From automated milking machines to robot feeders, these high-tech tools help dairy farmers cut costs while also improving efficiency.
- What are the advantages of automation on dairy farms?
- How have labor issues helped push dairy farmers towards automation?
[VIDEO] Meet the Enormous Boats That Carry Your Stuff2017-04-28 14:44:03
Today’s globalized supply chains depend on enormous shipping boats to ferry cargo from one end of the world to the other. It wasn’t always this way, though. This video takes a look at how standardized containers aboard gigantic vessels have transformed logistics since the 1970s.
- How did containerization make shipping more efficient?
- Why are supply chains and logistics so important to modern companies?
[VIDEO] Why Do Airlines Sell Too Many Tickets?2017-04-14 14:28:38
This week United Airlines angered millions when a video surfaced of a man being brutally dragged off of an overbooked flight. People not only felt horrified at the violence of the incident, but they also questioned why the company needed to overbook flights in the first place. As this video shows, though, the answer is not so easy.
- Should airlines be allowed to overbook flights?
- What risks do airlines face if they do not overbook a flight?
[VIDEO] The Business of GIFs: Then and Now2017-04-03 14:23:10
The looping animated icons known as GIFs have provided websites with a unique visual element since the dawn of the Internet. Of course, today’s GIFs do far more than just attract eyes to otherwise dull sites. People use them constantly in social media and text message conversations to express emotions that are difficult to convey with words. And as this video shows, companies like Giphy think that these moving images will soon turn into major money makers for content creators and other entertainment ventures.
- How does a streaming video company like Hulu benefit when someone posts a GIF drawn from one of the platform’s TV shows?
- Do you think websites like Giphy will eventually charge customers to use specific GIFs?
[VIDEO] Inside the Pantone Color Factory2017-03-14 13:38:26
While identifying colors might seem like a simple preschool task to some, it’s a serious job at the Pantone color factory. This company creates color guides that act sort of like dictionaries for artists and designers. In order to create consistent colors every time, Pantone depends on eagle-eyed employees to check for flaws. Along with these dedicated staffers, this video also shows some of the machines used by Pantone to create such vivid hues.
- Why does Pantone require their employees to take a color test every year?
- Do you think robots will eventually be able to do the job of a Pantone ink technician?
[VIDEO] How to Get 60,000 Containers Around the World in Record Time2017-03-02 15:21:23
Supply chain management is an incredibly complex process involving dozens of companies stretched across thousands of miles. This video takes a look at the shipping firm Flexport and how they simplify “freight forwarding” for businesses transporting goods from China to the U.S.
- How does Flexport improve the process of freight forwarding?
- Why is international supply chain management so complicated?
[VIDEO] This Incredible Machine Pulls Clean Drinking Water Out of Thin Air2017-01-20 14:45:01
Ensuring clean water for everyone on the planet is one of the major environmental challenges facing future generations. In this video, a Chilean engineer demonstrates his invention that draws vapor from the air and turns it into drinkable water. If he succeeds in making the machine smaller and cheaper, it could provide an immense benefit to communities that lack access to clean water.
- Why does Hector Pino need to continue refining his product?
- Once fully developed, should Pino form a non-profit or for-profit company to distribute his product?
[VIDEO] How Much Do Your Favorite Holiday Songs and Movies Make?2016-12-29 14:26:51
As 2016 comes to a close, many people across the country have likely spent the last few weeks immersed in Christmas music and movies. This brief video takes a look at how much money some of these old entertainment properties earn during the festive season, from Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life to Mariah Carey’s perennial hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
- How did the public domain copyright of It’s a Wonderful Life transform the film into a holiday favorite?
- Why do some holiday songs and movies remain hits years after their original release?
[VIDEO] How China Is Changing Hollywood2016-12-06 15:04:33
Thanks to a rapidly growing middle class, China has transformed into the largest moviegoing market in the world. And while Hollywood is the source for many of the nation’s hit flicks, American filmmakers still face a number of hurdles before they can do business in China. This video looks at the ways Hollywood tries to appeal to Chinese culture in order to break into this tough but rewarding market.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of China’s revenue sharing model for American movie studios?
- Could China’s own “Hollywood” eventually grow to compete with the American original?
[VIDEO] When Carmakers Taunted Horses2016-11-22 06:00:32
With 43.5 million Americans expected to hit the road for Thanksgiving this year, drivers will likely have to deal with more traffic jams and slowdowns than usual. Then again, at least these dedicated travelers will be making their journey by car rather than on horseback. But while this preference for pedals seems like a no-brainer today, the situation was much different a century ago when automobiles were new and confusing to many consumers. This video shows how carmakers marketed these futuristic vehicles by often insulting the loyal steeds that had carried humans for millennia.
- Why did early carmakers hold such a grudge against horses?
- Will self-driving car companies attack traditional carmakers once autonomous vehicles become more commonplace?
[VIDEO] Inside the Factory Where Robotic Dinosaurs Come to Life2016-11-10 14:23:05
When a group of Australian special effects artists were having trouble finding work, they decided to pool their resources together and create their own animatronics company. Most had planned to return to working on movies and television once they’d made a splash with their enormous, lifelike representations of dinosaurs and monsters. But Creature Technology wowed the world with their creations, leading to the bustling and almost magical workshop shown in the video below.
- Why must Creature Technology keep some of their creations secret?
- In an entertainment world that largely depends on computer animation, will physical effects designers like the ones at Creature Technology be able to compete in the long term?
[VIDEO] You’ll Be Eating Crickets Soon. You Have No Choice2016-10-27 13:49:42
Although the world’s population is always increasing, the physical size of the globe stubbornly remains the same. As a result, humans might soon face a shortage of some key resources, including food with high protein content. But here’s where the humble cricket hops in: while many Americans may consider them pests, crickets can be a nutritious and environmentally sustainable food source. This video takes a look at the ways one cricket farm operates and how its owners hope to market bug-eating to skeptical Americans.
- Do you think Americans will ever find the concept of eating crickets appealing? Will they simply have to get used to the idea, as the video suggests?
- How would you market a cricket-based protein bar to the public?
[VIDEO] The Formula for Selling a Million-Dollar Work of Art2016-10-13 15:26:38
For those of us who aren’t involved in the upscale art world, the multi-million dollar price tags attached to some works can seem baffling. This video from Vox takes a peek into this exclusive market and shows how assessing a piece of art’s value often has more to do with the reputation of the artist and their dealer rather than the work itself.
- Should a work of art’s value be tied more to its artistic worth? Why is this difficult to do?
- How do art dealers manipulate the market to drive up prices?
[VIDEO] Automating the Grocery Warehouse2016-09-23 14:31:06
Although drone deliveries are still a few years away from becoming a reality, automated machines are already having a big impact in other parts of the supply chain. This short but visually rich video takes a look at the robots made by a company called Symbiotic and the ways that they have streamlined operations at a grocery warehouse.
- What makes Symbiotic’s robots more efficient than human workers?
- Will worker robots from companies like Symbiotic eventually replace human labor?
[VIDEO] The Volcker Rule Explained2016-09-14 14:45:01
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ranks among the most important laws passed in recent history. It’s also extremely complicated, amounting to some 14,000 pages of various regulations and restrictions. The video below takes a look at one of the key provisions of this landmark bill: The Volcker Rule, or the stipulation that banks cannot act like hedge funds and gamble with their own cash reserves. Although reviled by many on Wall Street, supporters say the rule is perhaps the most effective deterrent against another financial crisis on the scale of 2008.
- Why is it dangerous for banks to invest too much of their own cash in risky ventures?
- Does the Volcker Rule prevent U.S. banks from being as competitive as their international counterparts?
[VIDEO] The ‘Natural’ Label on Your Food Is Baloney2016-09-02 05:00:05
As Americans become more health conscious eaters, food companies have taken advantage of this trend by producing an abundance of items labelled “organic” and “natural.” However, one of these words is not like the other. This video takes a look at what “natural” means when it appears on food packaging and how this potentially misleading word could soon be subject to stricter regulation.
- What is the difference between the words “organic” and “natural” when it comes to food packaging?
- Should the government place stricter guidelines on the use of “natural” on foodstuffs?
[VIDEO] NAFTA Explained2016-08-29 13:57:10
As the Trans-Pacific Partnership inches closer to ratification in the U.S. and abroad, the debate surrounding free trade agreements like it has grown more intense. This video takes a look at one of the first of these tariff-eliminating multinational deals, NAFTA, and the ways that it has remained controversial.
- Do free trade deals like NAFTA or TPP provide enough of an economic benefit to justify their potentially negative effects on the U.S. job market?
- How do tariffs encourage or discourage trade between nations?
[VIDEO] How Free Games Are Designed to Make Money2016-08-12 12:16:21
Mobile games like Pokemon Go and Clash of Clans have become revenue-generating machines despite being free to download in any app store. So how do these games manage to make money without a set price point? This fascinating video from Vox provides the answer by taking a close look at the optional purchases that drive profits for these apps.
- Is it ethical for freemium gamemakers to earn the bulk of their money from so-called “whales,” people who spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on in-app purchases?
- Should other freemium game designers take a hint from Pokemon Go and be more discreet about where they place offers for optional purchases?
[VIDEO] Using Wastewater to Brew Environmentally Sustainable Beer2016-08-09 13:23:07
As the U.S. craft beer market has grown over the years, breweries that were once seen as upstarts to larger rivals are now becoming established institutions themselves. But while this is great news for many thirsty Americans, the beer boom has not been as kind to local water supplies. In this video, Bloomberg takes a look at how California’s Half Moon Brewing Company is experimenting with a sustainable system that uses retreated wastewater to brew beer.
- How would you market a beer that was brewed with sewer water?
- Should large scale breweries begin to use recycled water as well?
[VIDEO] Does the U.S. Have the Highest Corporate Tax Rate?2016-07-29 14:13:01
While the U.S. corporate tax rate looks tough on paper, this brief video demonstrates how large companies can use legal loopholes to drastically decrease what they owe to Uncle Sam.
1. Should companies be able to exploit legal loopholes to lower their tax rate?
2. Would corporations be more likely to leave the U.S. if the government enforced stricter corporate tax standards?
[VIDEO] Why Did the Concorde Jet Fail?2016-07-20 12:00:49
With cramped cabins, long delays and ever-increasing fees, these days airplane travel is about as exciting as a cross-country bus trip. In the mid-1970s, however, the skies briefly brightened with the arrival of the revolutionary Concorde supersonic jet. Capable of cruising at more than twice the speed of sound, Concorde could fly from London to New York in half the time of normal planes. For optimistic aviation observers, the jet represented no less than the future of air travel.
But a number of issues kept Concorde from soaring to the heights that many expected. Along with high costs and environmental concerns, a crash in 2000 followed by the post-9/11 drop in air travel led Airbus to discontinue the jet in 2003. This lengthy video from Vox details Concorde’s origin and end, providing a great example of how a product can still fail despite its technological advancement.
- Do you think Concorde could make a comeback today? Who would be its target market?
- Why do some technologically advanced goods or services fail to catch on with the public?
[VIDEO] Meet the Last Disco Ball Maker in the United States2016-07-08 13:49:28
As a bit of an antidote to the tragic violence and uncertainty that has dominated recent headlines, this short, fun video looks at the last producer of disco balls in the U.S. and the ways they’re struggling to stay relevant.
- Why would you purchase a Kentucky-made disco ball for $125 when one produced in China runs for as little as $30?
- What stage of the product life cycle does the disco ball currently fall under?
[VIDEO] How the Euro Caused the Greek Crisis2016-06-29 14:01:47
In the aftermath of the Brexit, many non-European observers have been left wondering why a majority of British voters opted to leave the EU. While a number of factors contributed to the historic ‘Leave’ decision, this video specifically looks at the euro’s role in plunging the Greek economy and how the crisis turned into a cautionary tale for other EU countries.
- Should wealthy EU countries send regular financial support to poor nations in the union?
- Will the euro last as a continent-wide currency?
[VIDEO] Britain Is Leaving the EU. Here's What That Means2016-06-24 14:27:44
Last night voters in the United Kingdom elected to part ways with the European Union. While the full consequences of this historic decision will not be known for a long time, this video explains the immediate impact of the “Brexit” and how the situation could play out in the coming months.
- Did UK voters make the correct decision?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of membership in an economic community like the European Union?
[VIDEO] What Is The 'Real' Unemployment Rate?2016-06-16 13:30:17
While the government’s official unemployment rate has been hovering around 5 and 6 percent lately, that number doesn’t tell the whole story about joblessness in the U.S. This video summarizes the concept of the “real” unemployment rate and the different ways that the government defines joblessness in its statistics.
- Why isn’t the “real” unemployment rate used as the official measure of joblessness?
- What does the large amount of underemployment in the U.S. say about the current state of the economy?
[VIDEO] It's Not You. Claw Machines Are Rigged2016-06-01 14:06:22
With summer here at last, people across the country will be looking to fill up their free time with some fun. But if your idea of a good time includes trying your hand at a claw machine, you may want to pick up a more reliable hobby. As this video shows, many claw machines are designed to ensure that players continuously lose. So beware, those who frequent arcades and boardwalk midways, the system is rigged against you!
Of course, not everybody gets to spend the summer trying to wrangle a Spongebob Squarepants plush from the bowling alley “skill crane.” For those who soon start their summer sessions, next week the Understanding Business blog will return to its regular posting schedule of around 3 articles or videos a week.
- Should companies be allowed to rig games like claw machines without informing consumers?
- Why do regulators make clear distinctions between games of skill and games of chance?
[VIDEO] The Explainer: Disruptive Innovation2016-05-06 14:50:31
This week we looked at the startups that have tried to follow in the disruptive footsteps of the on-demand car service Uber. The following video explores how small companies can disrupt large firms and the ways that the big boys respond.
- Why can it be dangerous for companies to focus on small but lucrative customer bases?
- Will startups like the parking service Luxe or even the gasoline delivery company Filld become disruptors like Uber?
[VIDEO] The Fed Machine2016-04-19 13:10:34
To go along with last week’s video about the debt versus the deficit, here’s another quick piece that sums up a complicated financial concept using striking visuals. In this video, The New York Times constructed a Rube Goldberg machine that illustrates the consequences of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. In fact, the segment’s running time is so short that you might consider showing it twice just to get the point across (and to see this fascinating machine in action one more time).
- Why would the Federal Reserve want to slow down the economy?
- Along with maintaing monetary policy, what other responsibilities does the Federal Reserve have?
[VIDEO] Never Mix Up The Debt And Deficit Again2016-04-15 15:11:48
For years Americans have heard about the dangers of the national debt from TV talking heads as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle. But what exactly is the national debt, and how does it differ from the deficit? And just how frightening are these figures that top out in terms of billions and trillions of dollars? Along with defining “the debt” versus “the deficit,” this quick video also explains why GDP plays a major role in any proper assessment of U.S. debt.
- Why is it important to know the difference between “the debt” and “the deficit”?
- How does GDP help to put the nation’s debt into perspective?
[VIDEO] Unions Win Big in Supreme Court Split Decision2016-04-01 10:00:53
This week, America’s labor lobby scored a major victory thanks to a split Supreme Court decision that upheld unions’ right to collect membership fees from public sector workers. The short video linked below brings clarity to this complicated story and focuses on the perspectives of both sides.
- Is it ethical to require teachers like Rebecca Friedrich to pay for membership to unions they oppose?
- What benefits do union members receive from the dues they pay?
[VIDEO] A History of Oil’s Booms and Busts2016-03-25 14:13:15
Gasoline prices are lower than they’ve been in decades, but this is far from unique. Throughout oil’s volatile history the commodity has experienced several surges and sharp declines in value. This short but informative video tracks some of the biggest petroleum price jumps over the last century.
- Why does the price of oil change so frequently?
- Should world governments invest more money into alternative energy sources in order to decrease their dependence on the unpredictable oil industry?
[VIDEO] The Rocky Revival of Vinyl Records2016-01-19 21:15:15
Although vinyl records sales are higher than they have been in decades, companies are having trouble meeting demand due to their reliance on old, antiquated machinery.
- Will demand for vinyl records drop if companies fail to maintain a steady supply?
- With music and movie streaming sites now commonplace, do vinyl records and other forms of physical media have a long term future?
From The New York Times
[VIDEO] What Happens When You Win the Lottery?2016-01-14 21:24:51
This short video shows what happens to a person’s money in the very, very unlikely event that they win the lottery.
- As the video says, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than win the lottery, so why do people play it?
- Which option ensures that a lotto winner gets the most money from their prize: the cash payout or the annuity jackpot?
From CNN Money
[VIDEO] Utility vs. Homeowners over Solar Power2015-07-01 21:01:44
Millions of Hawaiians want to switch to cheap solar power, but overloaded grid structures often prevent them from doing so.
- What is the key problem facing consumers seeking solar power in Hawaii?
- What seems to be the solution to solving Hawaii’s energy problem?
From The New York Times
[VIDEO] Why the Rich Get Richer: Income Inequality Explained2015-06-01 21:00:05
This animated video shows how compound interest insures that the wealthy remain that way.
- Do liberal economists believe everyone should earn equal income?
- What is a key to growing wealth among all individuals?
From The Wall Street Journal
[VIDEO] What Are the Causes of Inequality?2015-05-01 20:58:07
This video delves deep into the complicated origins of income inequality and how it affects the economy as a whole.
- What has been the economic effect of technology on productivity and jobs?
- Is cutting CEO pay the answer to fixing income inequality?
From We The Economy
[VIDEO] Guns, Drugs and Money2015-04-15 20:57:47
From The New York Times
Growers and sellers in Colorado’s legal marijuana industry may only deal in cash, leading to major problems with banking and security.
- With cannabis legal in Colorado, why can’t banks deal with merchants?
- Is there a double standard merchants face in the cannabis industry?
From The New York Times
[VIDEO] That Film About Money2015-04-01 20:54:52
This video takes a look at the nature of money and why some people’s preconceptions about cash might be incorrect.
- Can banks vary the amount of interest they charge borrowers?
- What’s the key reason why Federal Reserve regulates the money supply?
From We The Economy
Inside the Guts of Macy’s Herald Square2015-03-15 20:53:45
At Macy’s flagship store, it takes a lot of action behind the scenes to keep this iconic retailer running smoothly.
- What utilities are critical to Macy’s success in the retail market?
- Why is the women’s shoe department at Macy’s such a massive size?
From The New York Times
How to Make an Oscar Statue2015-03-01 20:51:41
This video shows how one factory handcrafts each Oscar statue before Hollywood’s biggest night.
- Does R.S. Owens Company use a continuous or intermittent manufacturing process?
- What type quality control process does R.S. Owens use in producing Oscars?
From CNN Money
League of Legends’ Profitable World2015-02-28 20:50:20
This video shows how far some video game companies are willing to go in order to create a one-of-a-kind fan experience.
- Why would Riot Games sponsor game competitions at a financial loss to the company?
- Are video games such as League of Legends fads or products here to stay?
From The New York Times
Ex-NFL Star Finds New Passion in Farming2015-02-01 20:48:58
After landing a big time contract in the NFL, Jason Brown left it all behind to work the land as a farmer.
- Why would a successful NFL player leave football to become a farmer?
- Does his plan for building First Fruits follow good business practices?
From CBS Evening News
[VIDEO] The Story Behind Oil’s Plunge2015-01-15 20:45:25
This short animated video explains the recent drop in worldwide oil prices and what people can expect to pay at the pump in the future.
- What has caused production of U.S. oil to increase by 90% since 2008?
- Why is it likely that American jobs in the oil industry will decrease?
From CNN Money
[VIDEO] Cave-O-Nomics2015-01-02 20:41:31
This nuts-and-bolts explanation of the economy acts as a good introduction to the course’s content.
- Why is competition a key to developing economies?
- How do consumers and businesses benefits from high productivity?
From We the Economy
[VIDEO] How Does Wall Street Influence the Economy?2014-12-01 16:37:15
Another entry in the We the Economy series, this video delves deep into Wall Street and its role as a financial hub both in the past and the present.
- What influence does Wall Street have on the U.S. economy?
- What major problem does Wall Street suffer from since the financial crisis?
From We the Economy
[VIDEO] Supply Chain Reaction2014-11-15 16:35:56
This video reveals some of the unpleasant origins behind the world’s most common products and highlights the importance of understanding supply chains.
- Have big companies improved work standards in their supply chains?
- Should consumers be involved in making sure supply chains are managed humanely?
From We the Economy
[VIDEO] The Debt and the Deficit2014-11-01 16:34:00
This animated installment from the We the Economy video series explains the intricacies of the country’s budget deficit and national debt.
- How does the number of social security recipients impact the economy?
- If the economy grew from 2 percent to 4 percent would that help the debt?
From We the Economy
[VIDEO] The Remote Repo Man2014-10-01 16:32:47
As people inevitably default on their subprime auto loans, dealers turn to a variety of ways to retain their merchandise, sometimes with hazardous consequences.
- Do regulatory agencies need to clearly define when a borrower is in default?
- Should lenders be able to turn off a moving car?
From The New York Times
[VIDEO] No Credit? No Problem2014-09-15 16:31:35
In order to attract cash-strapped buyers, more auto dealers are offering sub-prime loans on vehicles for people with poor credit. This video and the one below document the potential dangers of this financing practice.
- What are the major advantages and disadvantages of sub-prime lending?
- Are investors in bundled sub-prime car loans taking on significant risk?
From The New York Times
[VIDEO] See the Startup Developed in Prison2014-09-01 16:30:14
An entrepreneurial incubator in California’s Folsom Prison teaches inmates business skills that can help them adjust to life after release.
- Why are programs like the Last Mile important good for society?
- What message did inmate Trevor Bird offer that’s important to remember?
From CNN Money
[VIDEO] Humans Need Not Apply2014-08-01 16:28:29
Recent technological advancements in automation could soon make many human workers obsolete, according to this rather bleak video. Due to the length and potentially overwhelming nature of this piece, we recommend showing just the first five minutes.
- What has been the true value of mechanical advancements for society?
- What is the key message sent forth in this video?
From CGP Grey
[VIDEO] Etsy Artisans Reach Retailers2014-07-15 16:27:06
The online, indie-driven craft store Etsy is giving their users a chance to sell their wares wholesale to retail outlets.
- What are the major benefits of using Etsy to a firm like Worley’s Lighting?
- Do entrepreneurs like Shelli Worley often turn their hobbies into businesses?
From The New York Times
[VIDEO] How Net Neutrality Works2014-07-01 16:25:00
Net neutrality continues to be a hot topic for debate in Washington. Here’s a video explaining this complicated subject.
- Should the Federal Communications Commission (FDC) continue a policy of net neutrality?
- Does FCC Chairman Wheeler have a conflict of interest in this decision?
From The New York Times
[VIDEO] Pinball Machines for the 21st Century2014-05-15 16:23:38
This New Jersey pinball wizard is trying to modernize an old arcade favorite.
- What’s important characteristic about their customers must pinball machines manufacturers keep in mind?
- Will pinball manufacturers like Jersey Jack be able to expand their market?
From CNN Money