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Media C-Suite Week No. 1, Issue No. 39

The Week in the Media C-Suite, Week 1 Issue 39

A Week in the Media C-Suite 

It’s Sunday, the 31st of December, 2023.

New Year’s Eve!

Today is one of the strangest days of the year within the media industry as our screens heave under a deadline for looking back at both what happened in 2023 and predictions for the year to come. But any survey of content across television channels, social media and publisher pages provides a seemingly endless procession of opinion pieces, analysis or prognostications that increasingly differ from the sentiment generated by personal interaction with friends, family and colleagues in the real world.

It’s been that way for some time.

Whether we admit it or not, our industry is the primary purveyor of knowledge to most of the human population. Most people today learn more from entertainment content that they ever will from school. When the knowledge we convey to consumers, voters and decision-makers is inconsistent with our physical world, we risk more than inconvenience truths.

At its basic level, according to epistemology (or the philosophical study of knowledge), our minds are filled with a combination of what we are taught, and what we experience. When the two sources of knowledge contradict each other, social pressure can easily tip the scales. If one believes that everyone else believes that something is true, then one tends to accept it.

Our inner ears function as an alarm system for times when our eyes fail to recognise when our bodies are moving. We get seasick, or car sick or air sick. That nauseous feeling is a warning that what we think and what is are not one and the same.

Ringing in the New Year tonight will follow a familiar pattern of celebration and fireworks. The tradition of New Year’s resolutions is an effort at correction. We make these resolutions when something inside us prompts a need to change things.

That something inside is an alarm.

Resolution

The word alone has multiple meanings.

One meaning of the word is the process of solving a contentious matter or problem.  Conflicts are resolved.

The meaning on the minds of most this New Year’s Eve is the firm decision on a course of action. One can, and should be, resolved to improve their life and the lives of those around them. To be determined is to be resolute.

A third meaning of resolution is the degree of sharpness in an image; its clarity.

Our Take

We look at the coming year with hope, but also trepidation. Hope, of course, is no basis for strategy.

Trepidation can be.

What strategy requires is an objective. For professional investors looking at the Media & Entertainment industry this year, that strategic objective must be disruption. It’s a word that has been over-used in many ways, but which applies to the potential for value creation in an industry dominated by established institutions, and which will collectively receive US$2.5 trillion in revenues this year (more than the top 100 arms manufacturers combined). And its not been a particularly great year.

What trepidation offers is caution.

The largest, most well established companies in the industry by market valuation are stagnate at best and likely loosing value at unprecedented rates. This is despite revenue streams that dwarf most other industries. The reasons for this are many and tend to be at least partially hidden within an opaque commercial environment unique to Hollywood. 

For media entrepreneurs, those reasons provide a business case for capital investment. Technology continues to offer cost-effective ways of collaborating or competing directly with the Hollywood giants from nearly anywhere on the planet, just as consumer markets for entertainment content inside and outside the United States are booming.

The Media C-Suite’s New Year’s resolution is to provide greater resolution, in the form of clarity, to the opportunities for professional investors and media entrepreneurs to pursue disruption together.

Therefore, the executive power word for this first week of 2024 is:  Clarity.

Just Catching Up?

We’ll help you get up to speed.

Project Tigris

While we still don’t have any answers to the question of why Sam Altman has fired, and then quickly re-hired, at OpenAI, we do know that its full steam ahead for an agenda that the non-profit that begs questions not being asked.

We reported earlier that Altman had been pursing a multi-billion dollar book build called, Project Tigris, to finance specialised microprocessors essential for an age in which AI is common-place. These AI chips are critical infrastructure for a future economy in which AI places a significant role. The control over who manufactures AI chips, and where, is also of critical importance to the national security of every nation on Earth.

See:

News that OpenAI is actively raising that capital has now broken widely.

What It Means

A multi-billion dollar capital raise is news, but without details, it is news quickly forgotten. That OpenAI is a high-value business capable of raising that money is hardly worth reporting.

What is interesting is what is not being reported.

The central question remains: What happened on that long weekend last month with Sam Altman was summarily fired, then just as quickly re-established with a new corporate governance crew to support him?

OpenAI, if you recall, was established on the principles of public transparency and the protection of public interests in the development of Artificial Intelligence. The lack of transparency from OpenAI supports a premise that we would like very much not to be supportable. That being, the consequences of OpenAI’s advances in General Artificial Intelligence, together with designs for advanced AI chips to support it, would suggest a national security intervention in the corporate coup d’etat at OpenAI.

We’ll report more this and its implications for the Media & Entertainment industry as information develops.

Looking Forward?      

Preparation is the Key.

Here are a few articles to get you moving in the right direction.

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