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College-Football-Change-thefutureparty

College football is eating itself

College-Football-Change-thefutureparty

College football is eating itself

 

The Future. College football conferences are going through a shakeup, and the changes are breaking up long-time rivalries and overwriting regional loyalties. While it might make money in the short-term, many think the changes could gut the soul of college football… all in the name of commercialization.

Call an audible
What’s going on in college sports?

  • In early July, the Big Ten athletic conference announced that it was adding UCLA and USC (long-time members of the Pac 12 conference) to its membership in 2024.
  • The announcement sent shockwaves through the college sports community, as the shift would break up traditional rivalries, customs, and regional loyalties.
  • And that’s not all. The Big 12 conference is reportedly discussing adding up to six additional teams from the Pac 12 in the coming years.

Blitzed out
“Plain and simple, these moves are about money,” writes Jemele Hill for The Atlantic. USC and UCLA’s defections to the Big Ten are set to generate millions of dollars of revenue. You can hardly blame them, Hill continues, but the signs of trouble are evident.

But while it might help pay the bills, the moves aren’t necessarily good for the players or student body, said Sally Jenkins, an opinion columnist for the Washington Post. And for those who aren’t hopping on the reorg train, entire athletic departments might get left behind.

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The remote work rebellion

Employees-Forced-Work-From-Office-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

The remote work rebellion

 

The Future. As the pandemic wanes, tech companies are struggling to get people back in the office. More and more workers have embraced the newfound freedoms that WFH offers and have been reluctant to give them up… at least not without a fight. For now, employees seem to have the power — especially given the healthy job market and a growing wave of companies embracing remote work.

The Great Rebellion
Tech workers are mutinying against return-to-office.

  • A survey from the ADP research institute found that over 66% of workers would find a new job if they were required to return to the office full-time.
  • The Pew Research Center says 35% of workers who quit their jobs in 2021 cited wanting to move to a different area.

WFH or bust

Across the tech world, employees are coming together to push back against the demand for office returns. Recently, over 1,400 Apple employees signed an open letter asking company executives to rethink their in-person work ultimatums. “Stop treating us like school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, competitors are jumping at the opportunity to boast about their remote work perks and steal employees from their current roles. Airbnb announced this year that employees could work from anywhere without a pay cut, while Twitter and Zillow have embraced fully-remote policies.

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american-trust-news-media-drops-thefutureparty

The news still has a trust issue

american-trust-news-media-drops-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

The news still has a trust issue

 

The Future. The news industry has been having a rough go. And if the fall of local news wasn’t enough, a recent Gallup survey found that trust in newspapers and television news has dropped to all-time lows. The culprit? America’s deepening party divide.

Trust me?
American trust in the news media hits an all-time low.

  • According to a Gallup survey, Americans’ confidence in newspapers and TV news has hit a historic new low — a paltry 16% and 11%, respectively.
  • TV news is the second-least trusted institution in the country, only outperforming Congress in ratings of trustworthiness.

Divided we fall
The trust fall is due to deepening polarization in America, said Gallup, noting clear links between partisanship and levels of trust. Just 5% of Republicans said they had “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” in newspapers, while at least 35% of Democrats said they did.

But the collapse isn’t just limited to newspapers. Overall confidence in institutions across America is at all-time lows, ranging from the Supreme Court to the private sector. In other words, no one’s safe.

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Video games sales shrink for the first time in years

video-games-sales-drop-thefutureparty
Photo by Yan Krukov

Video games sales shrink for the first time in years

 

The Future. After years of breakneck growth, video game sales are finally slowing down. Research from Ampere Analysis says the industry will shrink this year for the first time since 2015. If the projection pans out, the idea that the gaming market is “recession- proof” could turn out to be a fallacy.

Press pause
Video games’ heyday might be coming to an end.

  • During pandemic lockdowns, the market ballooned by 26% and has been growing steadily for nearly seven straight years.
  • That growth propelled it last year to reach a record $191 billion in size.
  • But this year, the market is facing some speed bumps — Ampere predicts a 1.2% YoY shrink to $188 billion in 2022.

Game over?
From supply chain bottlenecks for consoles to rising inflation, recession headwinds are a formidable challenge for any market to overcome. Plus, the mobile gaming subsector is also working around privacy changes from Apple with stricter guidelines.

That’s not to say the industry is taking a nosedive — not by any means. Instead, analysts expect gaming to bounce back healthily, making a return to growth in 2023 and hitting $195 billion in size.

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What-next-Hulu-thefutureparty

What’s next for Hulu?

What-next-Hulu-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

What’s next for Hulu?

 

The Future. The next chapter of the streaming wars is unfolding. Hulu has made its home at Disney for about three years now, but that may be soon coming to an end. In a few years, Disney will need to decide whether it wants to keep the platform (paying billions for it) or sell Hulu back to Comcast. Depending on what it decides, the streaming platform may be up for grabs in as little as two years.

The Disney dilemma
Disney doesn’t know what to do with Hulu.

  • In 2019, Disney struck a deal for a majority stake in Hulu, allowing it to take operational control of the platform from Comcast.
  • As a part of the deal, Comcast set a deadline for January 2024, when Disney would need to pay Comcast at least $27.5 billion more for its 33% stake in the platform.
  • Disney could pay for the platform, but Disney+ has already become the company’s flagship streaming offering, with 138 million subscribers compared to Hulu’s 41 million. Alternatively, it could sell it back to Comcast.

Who-lu?
Jon Miller, who served on Hulu’s board from 2009 to 2021, described the conundrum: “Disney has never declared what its strategy is for Hulu… Wall Street wants to know, ‘How many chips can you afford to have on the board at any given time successfully?’”

As the 2024 deadline approaches, Disney is at a crossroads. Hulu does help strategically in some ways — such as helping support Disney+ subscriptions as a part of the “Disney bundle.” But… is that worth billions?

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Big Tech is all-in on ex-Tesla talent

Apple-Amazon-Google-Hire-Tesla

Big Tech is all-in on ex-Tesla talent

 

The Future. With recession fears building, mass layoffs have hit Tesla. But according to a report from Punks & Pinstripes, those workers aren’t staying on the market for long. This game of Big Tech musical chairs may signal that, despite a looming recession, the job market is still weighted heavily in workers’ favor.

Adios, Tessie
Tesla talent is a hot commodity.

  • Big Tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google are quickly snapping up former Tesla talent.
  • EV competitors like Rivian and Lucid Motors are also hot for former Tesla talent, claiming over 90 former employees (so far).

The layoffs came after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would cut up to 3.5% of its workforce.

Top talent
The Great Resignation is still in full swing. Despite high-profile layoffs across the market, labor demand remains “extremely hot,” according to Daniel Zhao, a senior economist at Glassdoor.

Indeed, the battle for human capital has been fierce, as companies wait eagerly on the sidelines to snap up talent the moment their competitors let them go. Case in point, Zafar Choudhury, a recruiting lead at Amazon Web Services, declared on LinkedIn: “If the Emperor of Mars doesn’t want you, I’ll be happy to bring you over to #AWS.”

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The fall of newspaper

Local-Newspapers-Shut-Down-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

The fall of newspaper

 

The Future. Across the country, local newspapers are taking a serious hit. As digital becomes king, it’s no surprise that analog media is declining. But the issue may be more complex than that — local journalism isn’t simply being eaten by smartphones… they’re vanishing without a replacement.

Extra, extra read all about it?
Local newspapers are shuttering across the country.

  • According to a new report from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, two US newspapers are closing weekly.
  • Around 7% of America’s counties no longer have a local news outlet, and about a fifth are at risk of becoming news deserts — a community with limited access to credible and comprehensive news information.

News desert
Without reliable news outlets, communities (especially hyperlocal rural communities) become less informed, which leads to less efficient governance.

“This is a crisis for our democracy and our society,” said Penelope Muse Abernathy, a visiting professor at Medill. “At a minimum, the loss of local news worsens the political, cultural and economic divisions in this country.”

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Roe’s downfall raises privacy red flags

roe-wade-big-tech-privacy-data-thefutureparty

Roe’s downfall raises privacy red flags

 

The Future. As America copes with the new reality of a post-Roe America, Big Tech is becoming a battleground — specifically, whether companies will need to surrender personal data to law authorities. What happens in the next several months could set an entirely new precedent for privacy rights.

The data wars
In post-Roe America, data privacy rights are also coming under scrutiny.

  • Big Tech firms like Google, Facebook, and more may be required to surrender users’ private data: location, texts, emails, search queries, and even site visits.
  • According to Axios, demand for such information could be used as evidence against those seeking abortions.

Next move
In response, Google announced a new program on Friday that would automatically delete location data, such as “particularly personal” locations like abortion clinics, fertility centers, and more.

But location data is only a small piece of the puzzle. Tech companies collect tons and tons of data that could be potentially leveraged to prosecute those seeking abortions in states without protections.

The future is murky, but one thing’s for sure, all eyes will be on how Big Tech reacts to — the overturning of Roe.

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radioshack-rebrands-with-horny-on-main-tweets-thefutureparty

RadioShack is ‘horny on main’

radioshack-rebrands-with-horny-on-main-tweets-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

RadioShack is ‘horny on main’

 

The Future.  If you’re on Twitter 24/7 (like us), you’ve probably noticed that RadioShack has been… ahem… a bit out of pocket lately. After decades of financial decline, the retailer is back with a vengeance. As it gets harder and harder to stand out online, being “horny on main” seems to be a surefire way to hold people’s attention and maybe a strategy other businesses will adopt.

The Shack is back
RadioShack is making a hard rebrand.

  • This past week, the 100-year-old electronics retailer posted a string of NSFW tweets, prompting many to wonder if it had been hacked.
  • Not quite — RadioShack seems to just be keen on attracting the attention (and business) of younger consumers, even if it means losing older patrons.
  • And it seems to be working. The brand’s tweets have gained over 100 million impressions, while its follower count has increased by nearly 200,000.

What is you doin?
What’s going on here? A quick look behind the scenes might help explain things… kind of. After filing for bankruptcy twice, RadioShack was purchased by Retail Ecommerce Ventures, a private equity firm founded by (infamous) entrepreneur Tai Lopez in 2020.

Now, Lopez is set on revitalizing the brand in the Web3 world (like a million other brands) as a decentralized crypto exchange platform, complete with a token called $RADIO…. which is worth, at the time of this writing, about $0.008574. Whether or not RadioShack’s Twitter antics can boost its crypto endeavors is still TBD.

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minions-the-rise-of-gru-125-million-box-office-thefutureparty

Minions take over the box office

minions-the-rise-of-gru-125-million-box-office-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

Minions take over the box office

 

The Future. Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru blew box office expectations out of the water this July 4th weekend. From TikTok trends to rowdy theater mosh pits… let’s just say the franchise has taken on a life of its own. As theaters struggle to make a comeback from pandemic lulls, they may be smart to lean into the virality of such tongue-in-cheek moments.

Rich Minion
Moviegoers are going bananas for minions.

  • The movie scored a whopping $125 million, the biggest ever opening over a July 4th weekend — beating Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which made $115 million in 2011.
  • Fueling the craze, the song “Rich Minion” by Yeats went viral on TikTok as moviegoers pulled pranks over the sound — like showing up to the theater in full suits as #Gentleminions or sneaking in 200 lbs of bananas.
  • Crowds have gotten so rowdy, with mosh pits and “disruptive cheering,” that police have shut down screenings while other theaters have begun to ban teens in suits.

Of note, TikTok hasn’t been the only thing driving Minion-sanity. Minions made some key brand partnerships and even worked with creator Cole Bennett to direct a special trailer for the movie, which prompted the creation of the viral Yeats soundtrack.

Feeling Despicable
Many were concerned about the prospects of animated movies at the box office, especially after Disney’s Pixar film Lightyear had a lackluster turnout this year. But Minions: The Rise of Gru appears to be injecting new life into the category.

Shawn Robbins, a chief analyst at Box Office Pro, described the phenomenon: “A very diverse audience showed up for Rise of Gru over the holiday weekend… moviegoers [are seeking] escapism amid other economic and social challenges going on in the world right now.”

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