The Content Trap, Part III: Context – Functional Connections

Dr. Bharat Anand compares the success of media company Schibsted’s digital transformation (from text-heavy to picture-intensive, from careful editing to rapid publishing, and from daily publishing to real-time updating) to that of The Economist. The latter doubled its print circulation from 2000-2015 while integrating its digital and print content, without changing the speed and manner in which digital offerings were updated. 

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The Content Trap, Part II: Concerts – Product Connections

Dr. Bharat Anand writes about Mark McCormack, the legendary founder of International Management Group (IMG), who recognized that athletes could earn as much or more off the playing field, as on it. In signing Arnold Palmer as its first client, IMG grew to become the largest talent agency in golf and from there expanded to tennis, motor sports racing, track and field, baseball, football, fashion models, authors and musicians.  The reason for IMG’s success was its ability to manage connections across products.

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The Content Trap, Part I: Classifieds – User Connections

Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration is known for its case study methodology. In the Content Trap, Dr. Bharat Anand describes several corporate users, their industries, and the ways in which these companies improved their connections to enhance their growth and success.

We have witnessed declining newspaper readership over the past few decades, and many believe that the culprit is digital alternatives. Dr. Anand notes that this decline has been underway for more than 60 years, caused by multiple technologies from radio and TV networks to cable TV and 24/7 news channels.  The impact of the Internet is no greater on readership than the technologies that preceded it.  The other two sources of newspaper revenues are classified and retail ads.  Classified ad revenues declined precipitously during the past decade (2000-2010) and the reason is that sellers and buyers favor products with more connections.

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The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change

Bharat Anand, Henry R. Byers professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and author of The Content Trap, states in his afterword, “I knew that many things around us would change by the time I had finished it [and they did].”  He recognizes, in an era of massive digital content generation, that content has not changed as much as the art of managing it, thanks to technology and the way in which connections are created.  He sets the stage by explaining how content is valued and consumed by billions of people daily.  As a result, businesses try to produce the best and most relevant content.  The proliferation of content -- five exabytes (five billion billion bytes) are generated every two days -- creates “the problem of getting noticed.”  The extremely low cost of digital content distribution, in turn, creates “the problem of getting paid.”  The combination of the two problems is deadly.  

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Deconstructing Education

Higher Ed: For Students, the Sum of the Parts May Be Greater than the Whole

It’s common knowledge among those of us researching student retention in online higher education that swirling (attendance by a student at multiple institutions) is much more prevalent with online, than on-ground, programs.  Some of the explanations offered include that it’s easier to switch from one online program to another and there’s less social integration among online students so less social stigma in leaving. Others posit that online students are much more savvy about reviewing courses at multiple institutions to enable them to build a richer collection of courses. Lastly, some note that the more frequent semester starts offered by online institutions makes it more conducive for students switching schools to accommodate their personal and work schedules, and to finish their program sooner. 

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It’s Time For All Of Us To End Fake News (Or Fake Truth)

As part of the 2016 presidential election and the post-election analysis, the topic of “fake news” was discussed almost as much as the email hacking of the Democratic National Committee.  With both sides pointing fingers, conservatives at progressives and vice-versa, it’s clear that both sides were successful in distributing “news” that their followers could post on Facebook or Twitter and opt for broader distribution of the “truth” vis-à-vis their political perspective.

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CCSF

Higher Ed Insights: Week of Dec. 12, 2016

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges’ (CCJC) president, Barbara Beno, was placed on administrative leave for six months up to her scheduled retirement.  The leave begins 30 days before the Commission is scheduled to make its final decision on  accrediting the City College of San Francisco (CCSF).  Her removal also precedes the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) decision whether to revoke CCJC’s ability to accredit two-year colleges, scheduled to follow CCJC’s meeting to determine the fate of CCSF.

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A book by Bowen

Higher Ed Insights: Week of Oct. 24, 2016

Last week marked the passing of Dr. William G. Bowen, former provost and president at Princeton University, president of the Mellon Foundation, and author of several noteworthy books on higher education. During his tenure at the Mellon Foundation, he created an internal research division, the non-profit reference sources JSTOR and ARTstor, and the iThaka research foundation dedicated to examining the interface between technology and education.

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