Tech Bytes: 02.17.2017February 17th, 2017
Traditional Media Outlets Enjoying Period of Strong Growth Thanks to Digital – The NY Times and other so-called “old media” companies are experiencing strong growth, driven mainly by digital subscriptions, the rise of fake news (and the backlash from disillusioned consumers weary of social media, and the Trump Administration’s emphasis on attention and penchant for scandal). The other underlying factor here is that traditional outlets are finally getting serious about resource allocation moving from print to digital media. While print is still king at places like the NY Times and Wall Street Journal, they both have made a significant effort to fund digital initiatives and publishing. Much like marketing departments in large corporations, media outlets are finally putting their efforts into digital and seeing it pay off.
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Facebook Targets YouTube and LinkedIn with Two New Enhancements – The social media giant released details of two new initiatives this week. The first is its latest foray into the video ad seeking space with a TV app that will be available on both smart TVs and streaming devices like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. Don’t expect it to show up on Google’s Chromecast anytime soon, however, given the direct competition with YouTube.
Facebook also revealed a new strategy to allow employers to list job postings directly on their pages and the accept applications via Facebook Messenger for free. The service directly challenges platforms like LinkedIn who charge users fees on both sides of the job search process. The assumption is Facebook will monetize with ad revenue and deeper engagement on its various platforms. The two key questions about the strategy are 1) will employers adopt the new approach and 2) will job seekers really want to make it easier for potential employers to find their social media accounts? Only time will tell, but it’s a safe bet the sheer size of the audience will be enticing for recruiters who have already been using social media to source applicants.
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Congressional Leaders Split on Path Forward for Self-Driving Vehicles – While the Senate committee with jurisdiction over self-driving vehicles pushed to aid innovation into the new technology, the corresponding House committee expressed skepticism, primarily over safety issues in hearings and actions taken this week on Capitol Hill. The role Congressional leaders (and regulators) will play in the development of self-driving technologies is critical and should be designed to avoid the limitations placed on drone development that pushed companies like Amazon to move their innovation overseas. If the US wants to remain a leader in the digital innovation space, it has to support, not hinder, the development of self-driving vehicles.
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Coursera Innovates Its Search Function to Tackle the Growing US Skill Gap – One issue facing many US corporations is the growing skills gap as technology advances and retraining workers becomes difficult for learning and development departments. Coursera is attempting to offer a solution by improving its search function to focus on skills acquired in a course, not just the title. The application of machine learning to its courses allows the MOOC platform to better align its courses to the skills desired by students. The hope is that Coursera wins by offering more relevant content and better engaging its customers. We’ll see if the move pays off, but it certainly enables new opportunities in a cost-effective opens new cost-effective options for managers in need of skills development by their teams.
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