Private colleges: terminally infected by Covid-19?
Online educational provider, Coursera, reports that enrollment in its online classes us up 520%. This follows the closing of 91% of schools worldwide during the pandemic. Many colleges are now facing class-action lawsuits from parents and students who are demanding a refund for expenses paid and services not received. Coursera founders expect online learning to be the new normal. Many universities, such as Georgia Tech, have already invested in online alternatives, however many colleges are unprepared to face a changing customer base. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Covid-19 is the tsunami that has reshaped value perceptions for colleges and universities, whose pool of applicants will be reduced by parents whose finances have changed, and by students who reexamine the value of a $50K to $400K investment in a four-year degree. Competitive mid- and top-tier colleges that offer online alternatives will hobble those that do not. The fact that few foreign students will apply to colleges abroad during Covid will greatly reduce the applicant pool.
Robinhood fintech app spurs millennial participation in stocks
The mobile trading app, Robinhood, is designed to help consumers make small investments easily from mobile devices, with no fees. The platform has grown to 10 million users since its inception in 2016. Its convenience and free model is spurring interest and participation in the stock market, and many are taking government stimulus checks and investing extra funds in the beleaguered stocks, such as airlines. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: In a matter of a few short years, one of the most established industries on the planet — retail stock trading — is turned upside down by a small upstart in Silicon Valley that decides to offer stock trades for free, causing huge established players to follow and shift their business models. Retail brokerage houses now must make money off of other financial services, including credit cards, and banks need to have their innovation teams on the ready as Google, Samsung, Apple and others have entered the financial arena.
Movie theaters post-Covid
CNET considers the fate of movie theaters — an industry rocked by Covid and, in many cases, racked by debt. Some potential outcomes of theaters include: returning to normal and full capacity sometime in 2021, offering subscriptions similar to the failed Moviepass app, ensuring steady revenues for theaters who cater to a loyal core customer. Another outcome, already occurring, is the acquisition of theater chains by Big Tech such as Amazon, Apple and Netflix. As Big Tech deepens investments into creation of original content, securing theatrical distribution for expensive products will bolster the top line. Amazon has reportedly initiated plans to purchase some theaters, which will undoubtedly drastically disrupt the movie theater business.
dis-rup-shun: Imagine the various services that could be offered from an Amazon-owned movie theater. First of all, kiosks in the lobby could be used to order almost any product, which would be waiting in the lobby to take home after the show. Or one could walk through the concession area and select any refreshments — no lines and no cashier — and the charges would magically appear on one’s Amazon account. Prime members would likely get the best seats in the house, and possibly a free drink, and those that aren’t Amazon members could buy their tickets with the assistance of an Alexa-powered ticket booth. The Amazon movie theater would offer a dramatically different experience from competitors.
Baidu withdraws from U.S. led AI coalition
Baidu, the Chinese online giant, has withdrawn from the Partnership on AI, a US-led consortium developed to address the ethical dilemmas inherent in artificial intelligence applications. The company was the only Chinese participant, and its withdrawal further pits China vs. U.S. in next generation technology development. Wired
dis-rup-shun: Public opinion seems well divided regarding partnerships with China, with many citing unfair practices as reasons for withdrawal, and others calculating the loss of access to inexpensive and fast production, as well as the vast Chinese market. It is clear that U.S.- China relations will be one of the top political issues in coming elections.